Getting It Out Of My System

August 7, 2011

I’m going to write this here so I don’t say something I’ll regret to an administrator.

I recently went to a training on making sure that we are actually teaching the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) and not just what we think are the TEKS. This lined up well with earlier similar posts I have been reading from others, and I am completely on board with this.

As part of our breakdown of the TEKS, we looked at a compilation of TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) questions that were broken down by TEKS objective. We also looked at which questions addressed the TEKS on 9th, 10th, and 11th grade TAKS tests from 2006-2011. This is the part that drives me crazy (and why I hate TAKS with a purple passion) — I teach Geometry (10th grade), and the 10th grade TAKS test contains no — I repeat, NO — Geometry TEKS! The only geometry that is on the 10th grade test is from 8th grade.

Now I am obligated by law and by professionalism to teach the Geometry TEKS. My students and I are judged by a test that contains nothing of what I teach. Therefore, in order for my students (and me) to be successful, I also have to spend time reviewing/reteaching Algebra I, knowing that my 11th grade colleagues are having to review/reteach Geometry. Isn’t this fun?

This is the last year 10th graders will be taking TAKS (for which I am truly thankful). Next year, 10th graders will take an End of Course exam (that none of us have seen yet). This means that I know going into this year that all of this TAKS review I’m going to have to shoehorn into my curriculum this year will be tossed next year. Fun, fun.

I’m writing this now, because I know what any of the curriculum specialists or administrators I were to whine to would say (and they would not be wrong). Yes, it is certainly possible (and even desirable) to build in algebra review in a geometric context. And, certainly, the 8th grade TEKS are just simpler versions of my geometry TEKS, so if they can do 10th grade geometry, they should be able to do 8th grade geometry. Nonetheless, it is just so darn irritating to see it laid out in black-and-white that all of my TEKS are on the 11th grade test!




  1. I know exactly how you feel. As an algebra I teacher, it felt so good to purge our curriculum of all the 8th grade material we’ve been forced to teach for the last eight years. For the first time, we will be focusing entirely on the Algebra I TEKS. Of course the test scares me to death because I was on a committee in Austin that reviewed the field test items and then added them to the test bank. I know first hand that the test is going to be way above what they have been expected to do, but at the same time I expect lower cut scores in the beginning just like they did when they phased in the TAKS in 2003.

    • I went through all of the TEKS and previous TAKS tests last night, and it turns out there are 85 separate TEKS that I should be teaching. **sigh**

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