– Congratulations to Aarthi Ragupathy, application specialist for Harker, on the birth of her second daughter! Arshia was born March 11, weighing in at 6 lbs., 20 inches. All are doing well.
– Evan Barth, US math teacher, will be the US’s first dean of studies starting in the 2009-10 school year. Barth, who has been at Harker for nine years, will meet with all incoming US families to create and track a four-year academic plan. In addition, Barth will lead efforts on academic integrity education and conduct informational evenings for MS parents to acquaint them with the US curriculum. Barth has served on the Honor Council, is freshman class dean this year, and has served as both a head varsity girls soccer coach and an assistant varsity girls volleyball coach.
– Chris Daren, Winged Post advisor, received a Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Key award at a special luncheon in late March at Columbia University. Gold Key recipients are recognized for excellence in teaching journalism and in advising student publications. Only eight Gold Keys were awarded this year.
– MS music teacher Susan Nace performed with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus on April 19, singing songs inspired by poetry from e.e. cummings, as well as Or ff’s famous “Carmina Burana.”
– In March, MS English teacher Linda Felice participated in reviewing tests for the ERB (Educational Records Bureau), which provides assessment tests for many schools.
Reviewers came from all over the country. “It was extremely cool,” said Felice. Participants were reminded to keep all materials secure and confidential and found the process includes writing questions, reviewing them, field tests, statistical reviews and operational tests. The tests Felice reviewed will be the first tests offered online.
A good test question is clearly worded, grade-level appropriate and able to be answered correctly by students who have obtained the specific skill being measured, Felice was told. In addition, the question should assess comprehension of the skill, not the item, assess a range of achievement, offer only one correct answer and contain only plausible distractors, among other requirements.
Test items must avoid stereotypes or reference to specific geographical, ethnic, socio-economic, religious or gender data, among other things. When the reviewing star ted in earnest, “we logged on, said hello, and set right to work,” said Felice. “At the end of both days, we were all totally exhausted. It was very, very intense.”
Felice was happy about two things: having the opportunity to look behind the scenes at the creation process and seeing many of my own suggestions actually incorporated into the tests.
The process was rewarding to Felice on a classroom level, too. “I was pleased to learn … that the skills I am currently teaching my students will enable them to per form well on the ERBs. I am happy to know that, without changing anything, I am already preparing my students for these standardized tests they will be taking in the future.”