Saturday, February 28, 2015

More PARCC Prep

Our first official PARCC tests will take place soon. There's a lot to do to prepare.

Online Tools
There are a large number of online tools that students can access as they complete these tests. Following a sage colleague's advice, I'll introduce the tools on the large white board first. We'll discuss each tool with an eye on strategy--what tools are most helpful with regard to doing one's best on the test.

Practice
The grade level will practice signing in all at once to test the system and gain "sign-in" experience.

After the tool introduction, I'll give students some time to play with the tools. I'll respond to their "tool introduction" attitudes and interest and craft a learning experience that is fun and fruitful with regard to gaining skill and knowledge of the tools.

Practice Test Homework
The week after next I'll assign the online PBA practice test that's open to all as homework. I'll create paper template to go along with it so students can chart their work. At the start of the following week we'll review that practice test together.

The students will have a trial run of the real test with a more official practice test or tests. They'll have to sign into these tests and follow the same rules that they have to follow with PARCC.

Students will spend five mornings taking the test prior to mid April. They will take ELA and Math tests. As we run through the practice sessions prior to the official tests, we'll create a strategy list of behaviors to help everyone do their best.

This is a lot of teaching time spent on PARCC, but I'll cull the long term meaning from the effort in the following ways:

  • Learning to sign in and use the tech tools will help students sign into and use tools for a large number of tech programs.
  • The practice tests will practice ELA and Math skills.
  • The official test will give students a chance to see what they can do on their own without teacher support.
  • No one teaching/learning experience is equal to all learning or all benefits. These tests like all learning experiences are equal to a fraction of the overall learning that matters. After we've taken all the tests and receive results, I'll think about what fraction that is.