Titi’s Test (Part 2)

[part 1 here]

Titi is in eleventh grade, which means we are required, we two, by state and federal law to demonstrate that Titi is not a Child being Left Behind in her education. Titi doesn’t speak. The law doesn’t care. The school is required to test every student in the eleventh grade.

Normally I would talk to Titi as I prepare—ask about her breakfast, tell her I like her new purple beads. Calm her some.

Not today. I am not permitted to speak to Titi until we begin the test.

As instructed, I follow the test’s directions to the letter:

Skill One: Student will read 30-50 words out loud.
1. Present the paragraph (
Do not read the paragraph.)
2. Say:
You are going to read this story out loud. After you finish reading, I will ask you some questions about it. You can look back at the story to help you answer the questions.
3. Say: Read this out loud. (Alternate prompt—Say: What does this say?)
4. Leave all materials on the table.

I present the paragraph without reading it. I tell Titi she is going to read the story out loud. I tell Titi to read the story out loud. Titi smiles and doesn’t look at me. Her head weaves in and out of center frame as her aide makes the videotape that will be used to score Titi’s performance. The aide keeps shooting. Titi keeps smiling.

I ask no more questions. I leave all materials on the table.