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Monday, February 09, 2015

PARCC PBA Practice Steps

We'll use the "RICE" acronym to lead our PBA work.
How will I prepare students for the PARCC Performance Based Assessment (PBA) Math Test?

First, I started by teaching all of the standards using a blended learning approach. Lessons included projects, videos, songs, online games/practice, worksheets, and assessments. We used this blended approach for approximately one-two hours a school day to study, practice, and discuss math.

Next, I studied the PARCC PBA practice test.

I analyzed the types of problems and thought about my learners. Where will their challenges lie, and how can I prepare them for those challenges. I identified the following issues:
  • The print is small. I will look for easy ways to enlarge text if possible for students.
  • The problems require a number of problem solving steps that require accurate copying, organization, and checking.
  • The problems are multi-step where one step informs another. Hence accuracy will be very important.
  • While the answer required is short in numbers and words, the problem solving work required is substantial.
Read Carefully
My young learners first inclination will be to rush through each problem. Therefore the first lesson I'll teach is that they'll have to take each problem slowly with a step-by-step process. I'll encourage students to read carefully and to create a three-part worksheet on their paper that includes space for pictures/models, number, and words. Creating this worksheet will help students to keep the steps and work in order. 

Illustrate With Pictures, Models, and Number Lines
Next I'll encourage them to read the problem and visualize what the problem is describing and asking for. I'll suggest that they draw a quick sketch of the problem including main numbers, words, and images.

Copy Numbers Accurately, Calculate Carefully, and Check Your Work
After that I'll recommend that they do the number work. It's important to carefully copy the numbers on their worksheet. One way to do that is to say each digit as you copy the number down and then check back saying the number to make sure you copied the number carefully. Then they should complete the calculation on paper, double checking to make sure they've calculated correctly. It's always good to check with the inverse operation to make sure you've completed a calculation correctly. If there are a number of sections to the problem, I'll suggest that they break up their work space into sections for each part of the problem.

Explain Your Answer in Words that Match the Question
Then, I'll suggest that they look back at the question asked and write the answer in a short sentence using the correct figures. This helps students to answer the question since sometimes after all the calculation and thinking work, young children forget what question they are answering.

Finally, as students input the correct data and information into the computer. I'll suggest that they once again say each digit or word aloud as they type in the information in order to type in the correct information. 

SRSD Practice
We'll practice this precision and organization process often so students get used to the PBA pattern. We'll use the SRSD "coach yourself" process of using an acronym to remember the steps as well as self-talk to encourage good work.

I've created this process for the students after reviewing multiple assessments and student work efforts this year. Common errors include rushing, copy errors, calculation mistakes, answering the wrong question, disorganization with work, and messy writing.

A step-by-step process will help students to pay attention to details, organize their work, copy/write accurately, and answer the questions asked.

Below is an example of a PBA problem, a problem I revised from the PARCC practice test, and a problem I'll use as I coach my students forward. A great way to enrich this practice is to have students craft their own multi-step, real-world, standards-based problems and then solve their own problems. Later I review their work, try to solve myself, prompt edits if needed, and then have students publish for others to solve. Please let me know if you have other ideas about how to coach students well for the PBA math test.