By Diana Knudson February, 2015
February is a time to look at the Sample and Practice tests on Smarterbalanced.org. In this website, you do have samples of the kinds of questions your student will have on the state test in March, and you are so LUCKY!!!!
Often we do not know the kinds of questions our students will face on tests that are out of our control. But we have great practice tests and sample questions that we can use to help our students learn how to take a test that is now focused at higher thinking levels. Do your students in grades 3-11 understand the terms “claims” and “evidence?” The reading and writing portion of the test is mostly devoted to students reading articles, deciding on a claim, citing evidence from the articles to back up claims, and then explaining how that evidence backs up that claim. This process is a high level thinking focus.
This site includes samples of math questions students will have at each grade level. If you look at these, you will see that a focus on computation is gone. Students are now expected to use computation skills to solve many kinds of mathematical thinking problems.
Our students can make their way through this process. They need to have modeling, guided practice, small-group instruction, and whole group sharing. If we are not using these best practices to give our students confidence with this this focus on complex reading, writing, and math, they will struggle with the Smarter Balanced test in March. If our students learn this process in the classroom, their stress and anxiety will be greatly minimized. I would think your stress and anxiety would be greatly minimized, too. Let me know if you need help.
Time for a contest. Send your name to brianna@ gtccmt.org. We will enter it into a drawing for a $100 gift card. Last day to enter your name is Feb. 27.
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