Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Practicing for the AP test

Over the past month or so, I've been working with G in preparation for the AP test, which all third graders in the district take.

When N was in 3rd, I didn't do anything to prepare her, but I learned that her teacher was helping the class.  Ms. H explained the different sections of the test so students would know how to answer them.
I'd be lying if I said subbing in middle schools hasn't made me a little panicky about G and the AP test.

I fervently try to talk myself down.  Having taught honors and comprehensive classes, I know my kids learned something.  I know it was an environment in which learning was expected and promoted and achieved.

However, I also know that when I've subbed, there is a HUGE WORLD OF DIFFERENCE between what happens in an AP class versus what happens in an honors/comprehensive class.  I don't actually need to be in the room when an AP class is there.  They sit, do their work, do not talk.  I could fall asleep in the back of the room and no one would be the wiser (for the record, I do not do this).

When I sub with honors/comprehensive students, I have to be on, be aware and be forceful.  I have to ensure they understand that I am in charge.  There is no pussy-footing.  There is no giving them an inch.  And there is a lot of chatter and disruption and someone always gets thrown out for security to deal with because they are so disruptive.  I do not have qualms about calling security because they know that students act a fool when there is a sub, and I know that getting these 1-2 students out allows me to do something productive with the other students.

I think I've already determined that G will not attend the middle school that N attends.  It is entirely too big, and I think he would be overwhelmed.  Our resides middle school is smaller than his current elementary school.  N is able to let stuff roll off her back.  G is most certainly not that type of person.
G is, in general, an anxious rule-follower, so I suspect being in a potentially loud class, with some of the middle school rule-breakers, would make him miserable.

After going through the practice tests with him, I can't get a handle on how I think he will do.

G is very good at thinking he knows exactly what to do, at least when I'm trying to show him something.  Then he gets confused and acts pissy.  He does this on every "practice" question before the regular ones begin.  He also just wants to get done quickly, which means he rushes and says "2" (which is incorrect) and then immediately says "3" (which IS correct).  I've been stressing to him that if he puts the wrong answer without thinking it through, he may not have time to change his answers.
But then he'll have moments when he gets something on the practice test so easily, I am a little amazed.

If I had to make a guess, I would say he'll probably eek out of a low AP-qualifying score.
But I also wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't.  

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