Monday, March 19, 2007

Another Day, Another Fifty Cents

Studying Late post today, because I spent much of the day teaching myself to edit PDF files, and Paul spent the rest getting the taxes ready. The PDF thing is pretty slick with Adobe 8.0; I mark up manuscript just the way I would on paper, but more easily. It's especially good for this project, which involves cribbing from existing state test booklets to create a new test booklet for Illinois. I'm working on grade 6 math this week. Each book has lessons designed to teach all the skills tested on the state tests. Books have been created already for Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, California, Georgia, New York, and Florida. I've been through the IL TOC to determine which lessons from which states fit the IL standards, and I have written myself a roadmap. Now I just go into those PDF files and recreate them for IL. For example, IL Lesson 1 on Read and Write Whole Numbers is equivalent in most ways to PA Lesson 1 on Place Value. I change the title and the logos, pick up the instruction, pick up 3 practice items and create 3 new ones (because PA Lesson 1 deals with decimals, too, which aren't introduced in IL until Lesson 2), and revise another PA practice item to work as what IL calls a "Short Answer" question. Revise the footers and pagination, and I'm on to Lesson 2.

If nothing else, it's a great rationale for having national standards. The fact that there's SO much overlap, yet everyone reinvents the wheel to have "local control" is really illogical. In all of IL Grade 6, I have only four lessons (6%) I couldn't manufacture from existing lessons elsewhere.

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