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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Teaching and Test Prep

We can debate the use of standardized tests, but the reality is that we have them and I'd like to give students every opportunity to do their best. That's why we spent time today learning how to use the MCAS Math Approved Supplemental Mathematics Reference Sheet for 5th grade. I taught the reference sheet to all students as it was a good review of main formulas, concepts, models, and information related to the fifth grade math curriculum. Only students who have a related accommodation on their IEPs are able to use the reference sheet during the test. Yes, I wish all students could use it as learning today typically relies on looking things up to remind us of facts and formulas, but I'm not going to debate that now.

The review was very helpful as it introduced all of us to the language that might be used on upcoming tests, language that is good math language for learning this year and beyond.

The key to test prep is to meld it well to the concept, knowledge, and skill learning. We don't want to be all test prep and no learning so it's a good balance to seek when teaching and learning.

There are supplemental reference sheets for all the new MCAS tests and it's worthwhile for every teacher in Massachusetts to take a look, review the vocabulary, and help students to practice using the resource.