Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Testing! Testing!

Teaching to the highest level of student growth requires consistent collection of student data through formal and informal student assessments. This process can be overwhelming at times. Built into the Five Step Lesson Plan (WBT Video Library: 5 Step Lesson Template Program) is a fast and efficient way of assessing your class to determine mastery and need to reteach individually, small group, or even whole class. Helping students be "Prepared" for testing takes practice and modeling in a variety of situations. This year my school uses a daily rotation of leveled academic groups within each grade level to reinforce Math and Language Arts skills. Using the Whole Brain Teaching methods for student engagement and critical thinking, I include the Prove It (WBT Video Library: #506 Prove It!) process in a multiple choice question activity each day to reinforce academic language and problem solving strategies. My students are young and limited in testing experience, so setting up these scenarios is a necessity for creating student confidence and ultimately student success in mandated standards testing. This third quarter of school, our Rotation groups are focusing strongly on Test Simulation during this period, using Released State Test questions in a similar physical environment they will face later. For example, using scratch paper is a new skill in math. Our second graders may not mark in their test booklets because the booklet is actually a scantron, meaning no marks except bubbled answers. There is always the student who is so proud because he didn't "have to use" his scratch paper during the test. Oh, dear! As a teacher, I go through a variety of emotions as I observe students using their critical thinking skills in a deliberate way to solve a set of problems. It is exciting to watch a student's success, but very tough to watch another's lack of. Teacher observations are invaluable for evaluation of individual student needs and lesson design for further instruction. The time is getting closer for "The Tests"! Watch your team! Reach out to your players! They're counting on you!


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