Monday, March 05, 2012

More About MCAS Success

If you're a new Massachusetts teacher or want to learn about additional MCAS strategies.  Here are a couple more strategies I use to prep students and families for the test.

Home-School Communication
I share this prep document with families so they are aware of optimal strategy and preparation.

I created this document so that students could read past MCAS compositions, discuss the writing with peers and score the work.  I caution students about poking fun or putting down compositions that are minimal or low scoring.  I tell them that those stories could be written by students just learning to write or new to the United States, and just like walking we all develop reading and writing skills at different speeds.

I start this lesson by having students write a personal narrative in response to the prompt listed on the document.  Then we discuss what makes good writing.  After that partners work together to read and score the stories in the packet.  At the end we share our scores and discuss why some stores received high scores and others lower scores.  The students enjoy this task and it prepares them well for the test.

We will do the same to prep for the reading response test, and I'll post that document once I create it.  Massachusetts has done a good job posting exemplars and making MCAS prep materials readily available to teachers, and if you haven't accessed their MCAS sites, you may want to reference that page to learn more about MCAS.