As the standardized testing season approaches, we present readers a special edition of Throwback Thursday featuring one of our more popular posts. Here, Beth Curran addresses common questions and misconceptions on the topic of Test Preparation. As a teacher, I encouraged my students to welcome their annual opportunity to “show what they know.”
Originally published February 16, 2017
For many, Spring brings with it those two dreaded words: standardized tests.
Whether your school is required to take PARCC, Smarter Balanced, state mandated standards-based tests or ERBs, you inevitably will want to make sure your students are prepared. Many teachers will plan to block out two to three weeks prior to the testing dates to review and teach content that may not have been covered, but is this interruption to instruction necessary?
It’s estimated that students and teachers lose an average of 24 hours of instructional time each year administering and taking standardized tests. This doesn’t include time taken out of the instructional day for test prep so that number may even be quite higher.
Q: But, I need to review to make sure my students remember concepts taught at the beginning of the year.
A: Not if you have been teaching to mastery.
Teaching math with a mastery-based program that is rich in problem-solving may all but eliminate the need for any test prep or review. If your students have a solid foundation in the basics and have practiced applying that knowledge to solving problems throughout the school year, then nothing a standardized test can throw at them should be unachievable. With a cohesive curriculum, where concepts build on each other, your students have essentially been revisiting concepts throughout the year. So, trust in what your students have learned and skip the review.
Q: What about going over topics that I haven’t covered yet?
A: How much success have you had cramming for an exam?
If material is thrown at students for the sake of a test a few things can happen.
So, rather than block out a few weeks to cram in topics that you haven’t covered, try integrating them into other areas of your day. Do some data analysis in morning meeting. Add some questions about telling time to your calendar activities. Play with measurement and geometry during recess (The weather is getting nice, right?).
If you follow the sequence in your well-thought-out curriculum and teach some of those missing concepts after testing, it’s ok. Your students will experience those concepts in an order that makes sense and will be able to make connections, apply their thinking and master those concepts. That mastery will stay with them into the next year and will be reflected on upcoming standardized tests.
After all, we don’t stop teaching after standardized tests. Well… that’s probably a topic for another post.
photo courtesy of Alberto G.
@ 2017 world Singapore Mathematic-guisela rojas clases particulares matemáticas método Singapor