A LYS Reader from Texas asks: Sean, We are implementing short-term common assessments in our district. But we just hit the wall on an issue and we don’t know what we should do. All we know is that we don’t want to mess this up. What do we do for the advanced student who is responsible for a grade level state test, but is taking a different course? SC Response Great question. The fact that it has come up means that you are taking the common assessment process seriously, as opposed to just going through the motions. There is always some confusion about what to do when a student is taking a course that is not directly correlated to the TAKS test he or she is required to take in a given year. For example, an 8th grader taking geometry or a HS student taking a dual credit course at a Junior College. In a perfect world (one without TAKS), the student would always take the common assessment for the course he or she is taking. For example the 8th grade geometry student would take the geometry test. However, in an environment of high stakes testing, there is a need for the school to track the student’s progress on the TEKS that the student will be tested on at the end of the year. We actually have worked with schools where the student received college credit for a course taken at the Junior College and failed the TAKS. So consider the 8th grade geometry student, a district has a couple of options: 1. The student only takes the geometry test (not recommended). 2. The student only takes the 8th grade math common assessment (a viable option). 3. The student takes the geometry test on a three-week cycle, the 8th grade math test on a six-week cycle, or the reverse (a viable option). 4. The student takes a common assessment that addresses both needs on the same test (a viable option). If it was my school or schools and I was concerned about math performance on the TAKS test, I would focus on the assessment that provided the information best correlated to the TAKS requirements of the grade. At least until I had objective data that made me confident that the TAKS was no longer an issue for the students in question. I hope this helps. Think. Work Achieve.Your turn…

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