Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Today was the "Big Day"

"Our students tested today.  They were as most kids are on standardized days...they were focused.  Of course they said the test was easy."  - CMK, May, 2011

I started writing this post almost a year ago, but was never inspired to finish it.  I am not really inspired right now either.  What I am is another adjective...frustrated.  Most of my schools are focused on...guess what...testing.  They say, "We have six-weeks, how do I best prep my students?"

Everyone is looking for a magic pill to give students, so that they know and understand all of the content that we are spoon feeding them.  It won't work.  I have hope that with the coming of the Common Core State Standards educators are prompted to take another look at how we prepare students for standardized testing. 

More test-prep is not the answer.  Test-savviness is an alternative.  We have to build thinking and reasoning into the test-prep process and it needs to be grounded in research-based instructional practices that raise the cognitive demand levels of students.  I recently did a workshop on the test-savvy strategies and the following is what a participant said and I thought with a sigh of relief, "Ahhh, she got it."

"I have to admit that I was expecting something totally different when I heard the words "test savvy." My first impression was that we'd focus on test sophistication skills and strategies such as bubbling, process of elimination, navigating the test, etc. So you can imagine how impressed and eager I was when I learned that you would equip us with tools and strategies to develop kids' conceptual understanding and deepen their overall thinking.

All of the principles and strategies we learned are so valuable in delivering meaningful and engaging instruction. I really enjoyed the hands-on nature of the PD. There are many parallels between this professional development session and my SIOP training. This is profound because when used together, these strategies will enhance my effectiveness in teaching ELLs. The PD offered a great deal of strategies so I will choose a few of the strategies I think my students would benefit from most to implement throughout the rest of the year. We've already launched "Word Problem Rework" in the class and it has been so eye opening to see what my students are capable of and where their misconceptions lie. Thanks so much Christine!" - NYC Teacher
A final thought from Dan Meyer @ TED:

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