Monday, June 1, 2009

Sitting In Daytona Beach...Wish you were here

Dear Readers...

Here I am in Daytona is Monday evening and after a long, arduous day of travel I have finished a workout in the fitness center, had a nice dinner of fresh salad, fried chicken, and corn, and am drinking a cold glass of lemonade while writing this entry to all of my cyber friends.

Sitting with me is my good friend from Texas, who is celebrating his 17th year as an AP Reader. He and his fellow table leaders arrived three days ago and have been hard at work for the last two days learning the rubrics, reading essays, and learning the job of a table leader. Like my friend, most of these folks are veteran readers who know the ropes and completely understand their jobs; however, the folks of Educational Testing Services (ETS) are thorough in all of their procedures.

Tomorrow all of the readers will have arrived and the actual reading will begin. The day will go as follows: first, we will be given our questions and all of the graders for each question will be given a "seminar" by the Question Leaders on the grading rubric. Following this we will go to our tables where each table leader will be prepared to help us internalized the rubric. We will begin reading essays as a group making sure that each reader is grading exactly like every other reader. This process of calibration will last the entire day and possibly in the next morning.

Tomorrow is a critical day for the individual reader. He/she will become an expert on the question assigned to them. The rubric will be totally internalized until it's application becomes second nature. By the end of Tuesday and the beginning of Wednesday, the we will be off and running in a full blown grading session. The first day is critical in giving the reader confidence in the rubric and their ability to apply it in all situations.

According to my friend, the first two days of this year's reading went very smoothly. Rubrics were presented and tweaked, the table leaders had great dialogues on the questions furthering their understanding of the grading, and the actual reading of questions was concise and productive. These are all signs of a great year.

I am excited to get with my table leader tomorrow and begin reading what the students had to say. As I am sitting at my desk on the 11th floor of the Hilton listening to the surf pound the sandy beaches of Daytona I am thinking about having a great day tomorrow. I will report back tomorrow evening and let you know what is happening. By the way, thanks for staying with me at the end of your school year....until then...

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