Monday, 12 March 2012

DIBELS- This Torturous Fad Is ALL The Rage In Our Schools!

When I took my younger daughter to her Kindergarten registration I knew they would be testing her for placement.  It was overly stressful for me as a mother to see my precious little girl being drilled on her letters and sounds.  PROUD was I when she placed at the top of her class.

A year went by and it was time to do placement testing again for first grade.  I sat patiently a few feet away as the teacher held a stop watch and pointed to words for my daughter to read.  An obnoxious beep stops after 60 seconds, and the teacher moves to the next drill.

Note: Not This Poster's Child's Results

This went on for 10 minutes, drill after drill AFTER DRILL!  My heart was pounding out of my chest as I watched the frustration fall upon Samantha's face.  Finally, it was time to discuss her placement.  To my complete surprise she was below average on her reading drills.  I was then shown the "newest and greatest" measuring system the now use to rank our children's reading skills between grades 1-3.

She pulled out a list of "nonsense words" that were just used as a drill for my child's ranking- juj, ov, tek... but wait, THESE AREN'T WORDS!  How in the world can we be ranking our children's reading abilities by drilling them on their ability to read something that isn't even a valid word?!

This is insane!  My children and I have read- daily since they were infants.  Samantha is more than capable of reading books to me that are a level 2 but can not pass the DIBELS test.

To my surprise her most recent report card reflected a 2 (equivalent of a D) on Reading.  I contacted the teacher and asked how this was possible.  It was explained to me at this point that my daughter is still not passing the DIBELS drills and has been taken out of class at least twice a week for 45 minutes to be drilled by the Resource Teacher.  Now I am sad, confused, and somewhat angered that my child was so far behind and with all the communication between the teacher and I - I was never notified that my child was at a Resource Level for reading.  Through an exchange of emails the teacher explained to me that "The DIBELS testing is part of what the first grade has to pull the reading score from because fluency is embedded into  the reading grade. "  

I went online and started researching to find out how I could help my child find success with this crappy system considered the best way to rank our children in their early reading abilities.  at the bottom of the screen I read: "Message to Parents: You should not use these materials to coach your child. If your child is being tested by his or her school, coaching them on the materials will invalidate the results. DIBELS is never used to grade your child; instead, it is used to identify students who need additional instructional support. If you coach your child, you may be removing instructional support that he or she needs."   Simply put I was furious having just been informed that she is being graded on a system that clearly states it is NOT BEING USED TO GRADE OUR CHILDREN!

[Editor/Grand Enchilada note: the mere fact that ViewFinder has had these difficulties increases my stomach acid levels to an Above-Orrin-Hatch Alert.]

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