Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Standardized Testing: A Love Story

Here in Chicago we just started the PARCC assessment. This, however, isn't a post about my opinions (or anyone else's) on standardized testing. The reality is that testing IS our reality. Going into testing, I have three main objectives:

1. Appropriate accommodations are met.
2. Students feel prepared.
3. Students feel comfortable.
3. Teachers feel calm and ready.

Below are my top tricks:

1. Appropriate accommodations are met.

Use this link to get my testing accommodations spreadsheet. This is a great way to keep all of your students' testing accommodations in one place. I like to print this off before testing begins and hand out copies to any other proctors who are testing with me. You can also share this with the general education teacher or anyone else that would benefit from having this information. I don't like to rely on my memory for something as important as testing accommodations, and this way I don't have to!

2. Students feel prepared.

My co-teacher extraordinaire and I wanted to introduce the test to students without overwhelming them or having them sit down and take a boring hour long practice test. We broke it up by day.

Day 1: Students go on PARCC Sample Test with a partner and write down five things they notice or find interesting. Share out after.
Day 2: Scavenger Hunt!!! The goal of the scavenger hunt is for students to notice the new tech tools provided so that they are comfortable, prepared, and have an idea of what tools are most useful once testing starts. Again, we had students do this in partnerships. We wanted students to spend time talking about what they saw.

Day 3: "Take" test with a partner. This involved the teacher reading the questions aloud, students discussing the answer with a partner, writing A, B, C, or D on a white board, and sharing with the class. It allows students to discuss the test and the directions without having to sit and take the test without any feedback or conversation. These Popsicle sticks are also a really cute option. 

3. Students Feel Comfortable
I bring out fidgets, these cushions, those cushions, and the amazing third grade learning specialists brought in these cool acupuncture rings that are quiet and a huge hit.

4. Teachers feel calm and ready.

  • Read over directions before you read them aloud.
  • Have timers ready.
  • Get yourself some coffee. You deserve it! 

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