At most schools we are now entering into testing season. In Texas, that test is the STAAR, but Texas is not unique when it comes to end of the year high stakes testing. And even if your school isn’t dealing with state testing, there are AP Tests, Cambridge Tests and course finals that impact student opportunities, teacher evaluations, and/or school performance. So here is your best STAAR (or insert your test) Preparation Plan.
1. Keep teaching the scope and sequence at full speed. If you have identified students that you know will have difficulty on the high stakes test, and you pull them out of the course to remediate them on the course, the student will fail and that is on you and the school.
2. Get a copy of the release version of the high stakes test or the test blueprint.
3. Identify the following:
- The standards that give your students the most difficulty.
- The standards that are tested the most.
4. During your daily 5-minute warm-up implement the following cycle.
- Day 1: With a question that accurately represents a tested standard, the teacher presents the question, diagramming how she would attack the question and speaking out loud for her students to hear, her inner dialogue. As the teacher is doing this, students take notes and can ask the teacher questions. This should take 3 to 5 minutes
- Day 2: With the same type of question as the previous day, the teacher quickly diagrams the question, (30 seconds to 1 minute). Then the teacher has teams of students (2 to 3 students per team) solve one or two similar questions, as a team. The purpose is for students to talk through the process and correct misconceptions. While the teams are working on the question(s), the teacher is in the Power Zone, reinforcing effort, recognizing success. This should take 3 to 4 minutes.
- Day 3: With the same type of question as the previous two days, the teacher quickly diagrams the question, (30 seconds to 1 minute). Then the teacher has students work on one to two similar questions, individually. While the students are working on the question(s), the teacher is in the Power Zone, reinforcing effort, recognizing success. This should take 3 to 4 minutes.
5. Repeat the three-day cycle with a new tested standard.
The more difficult the test, the deeper the student deficit in content knowledge and skills, the earlier the plan should be implemented.
Tomorrow, we’ll cover Section 2 of the Your Best STAAR Preparation Plan
Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…
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