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No Good Answers
by Nicole Chiarello

January 31, 2005

Well I guess if all five of us passed the Boards on the first attempt, this would have been a boring series! Unfortunately, I didn't pass. I received a score of 270; 275 is passing.

After receiving my score and dealing with being the only one of the group not to pass, I am still pretty crushed. I put a lot of time and effort into the Boards and the last thing I want to do is redo an entry (especially for five lousy points).

I tried calling the NBPTS phone number to talk with a representative, but it was useless. All they do is read back information off a computer screen. I wanted someone to recheck the entry I did badly on to see if a mistake had been made, but I learned that's not possible. They won't recheck any entry; there is no individual feedback! The only suggestion I got from the representative I talked to was that I review my rubric score to figure out how to correct my entry. I did that, but I still have no idea how anyone could read my paper and score it a "2." In fact, the section I did worst on was the entry I thought was my strongest.

After the phone call, I went back to the NBPTS Web site to learn what else I could do. There, I found out about something called a Verification Process. For a fee of $50.00, someone will check an entry and verify that the score posted on the Web site is the same as the score recorded on the actual entry. That doesn't mean anyone will check the entry itself to make sure it's scored correctly; they simply verify that there's not a typo on the Web site. I decided to cough up the $50.00 to have Entry 2 verified. I was told I would get a response within 30 days, but I'm still waiting to hear.

The fee to retake any part of the Boards is $350.00, and I have until January 31, 2005 to pay it. I found out I could apply for a retake scholarship, which I did immediately, right on the Web site. The process took about 2 minutes. Last Friday, I received a letter saying my request had been received, but I was too late; all the scholarships for my state had been given out. Too late? How did everyone else know retake scholarships were available before I did? I am now (of course) on a waiting list for a scholarship in Rhode Island.

Another important thing I learned is that when you redo an entry, you are not allowed to simply fix the original entry; you must completely redo the entire entry.

So, the bottom line is:

  • I wrote a paper I thought was good.
  • I received a score of "2" on it, but I have no idea why I received a "2," because there is no feedback.
  • Even after reviewing the rubric, I have no idea why I received such a low score.
  • I have to pay $350.00 to redo the entry.
  • I am supposed to get a better score the second time around.
Does that make sense to anyone?

My friends at school won't let me quit, and I've promised them I'll redo the entry. So, that's where I am right now. Hopefully, having done it once before, I'll find the retake process easier than the original process. We will see!

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Meet Nicole Chiarello

Nicole Chiarello received her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University at Buffalo, of the State University of New York, in May 1994 and her master's degree in special education, learning and behavior disorders from Buffalo State College in December 1996. For the remainder of the 1996-1997 academic year, Nicole worked as an inclusion teacher at Niagara-Wheatfield Senior High School in Sanborn, N.Y. For the past six years, she has taught a district-wide special education program for three-to-five students with emotional and behavioral concerns at Bradford Elementary School in Westerly, Rhode Island. Nicole was named Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year in 2000. She is currently serving on a district team focusing on social, emotional, and behavioral concerns in the classroom.

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