This week students will use four math periods to complete math assessments. We'll use the rest of the time to complete our ongoing ecosystem model and number quilt projects--projects that took much longer than I expected, but projects that I also deem worthwhile.
I'll focus on feedback, plans for upcoming weeks, and preparing for start-of-the-year family conferences.
I'll frame the assessments as a chance to "test yourself" and "show off what you know." I'll also mention that teachers will use the test results to plan the program well so every student is getting the teaching and learning they need with respect to the long list of standards every child is supposed to master.
On these assessments students can use graph paper, scrap paper, and all the time they want.
I'll also observe how students tackle the tasks to gather more information about their individual learning needs and attributes.
Parents look forward to the data reports, and as educators, we profit from this information when it comes to planning student-centered learning experiences. The key point, however, is that the learning program is not all assessment or two-dimension, paper/pencil tasks. The program for young children is best if it is differentiated, multi-modal, and focused on students' interests and needs as well as the learning standards. Onward.