Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Math Test Review

In my opinion we have too many tests, and those tests are especially cumbersome between January and the February school break when students take a number of systemwide assessments. That being said, it's my charge to give the tests and help students to do their best on each test. That's why we'll have a test review today.

Students have completed a number of practice sets for homework. Today we'll review those practice sets, and I'll point out areas for focus. I'll also open up the review to student questions and comments of course. I'll invite students to use their colored pencils to make notes and mark up the homework page as one way to focus their attention on the areas that matter. I'll encourage them to look over their notes at night once again as another way to prepare for the assessment.

In the best sense, an assessment is an opportunity for a child to show off what he/she knows. It's a chance for each child to work independently, concentrate, and problem solve on their own. Looking over the tests tell me a lot about each student.

However, tests can't be the only part of a learning program. We have to make time for rich explorations and deep collaborative learning too, and we have to think about how many concepts, skills, and knowledge points we are asking students to master at the same time. Asking for too much often dilutes the learning in all areas whereas if you focus in on a few areas, the learning is stronger and deeper.

I'll give students every chance to learn good test study skills today as we review for tomorrow's assessment. I'm sure it will help many as they navigate this test-heavy part of the math year.