Friday, May 11, 2018

Test Time End-in-Mind

The big tests are next week for my kids.  Math is Monday and Reading is Tuesday.  I cannot guarantee that every one of my students will pass these tests.  In preparation for the tests, I cannot say that I have scientifically broken down the identified objectives and systematically formed small group learning activities to strengthen those objectives.  I have done this a little bit, but it has definitely not been the most important thing in our classroom.  I cannot say that I have focused the last three weeks on last-minute test preparation.  These tests are not the end-in-mind in my classroom.

I can tell you that my students talk about the things they read almost every day this year.  They analyzed good pieces of writing for author's purpose.  They made connections to their readings.  They wrote critically about the things they read.  They wrote their own pieces using author's tools and tricks they encountered and discussed.  In math, they collaborated to find solutions.  They solved problems multiple ways.  They proved their solutions were accurate.  Oh, and they did a TON of mental math.

How will they perform on the test?  They will be fine.  Some will do wonderfully.  All will try their best.  The kids who didn't pass the test last year may pass it this year.

Yes, I want them to do well!  I know each child wants to pass and do well.  Their families want them to do well.  The campus folks want them to pass (or better.)  The district wants them to pass or better.  The community wants the campus and district numbers to look good.  No one is cheering for mediocrity or worse.

However, ask anyone what they want from public school education and they never start with, "Great test scores."  They always talk about graduates that can solve problems, communicate well, and perform well on a team.

When the test comes around, take it seriously.  At all other times, keep your desired end in mind at the front of your lesson design!