Standardized tests – friend or foe? Consider the standards as your roadmap and the test as your destination. Your job is navigating the trip – and acting as tour guide. To plan instruction, however, you must first understand the test.
Ms. Sneed Studies Her Standardized Tests
Our favorite fourth grade teacher, Ms. Sneed, decided to align instruction to standards. After deconstructing the standards, she combed the Internet for guidance on her students’ standardized tests. Let’s look in on Ms. Sneed as she works through the process.
Finding Documents for Guidance with Standardized Tests
Ms. Sneed searched the Internet for information about the tests. At first, she struggled to find appropriate documents. With the right key words, she finally found what she was looking for:
- Blueprints – These handy tables listed concepts that would appear on the test. In addition, numeric values explained scoring and weighting. Studying the blueprints indicated which standards to hit hard, as well as which material could wait until after test time.
- Sample Test Items – Released items included constructed response, short answer, and multiple choice. Browsing the questions revealed skills students would need.
- Test Dates – Understanding when tests will be given, as well as which material will occur on each, guided instruction.
As Ms. Sneed perused the testing information, she breathed a small sigh of relief. Once she knew what would be tested, she could plan instruction for the year.
Over the course of her career, Ms. Sneed realized that there were 6 steps to enjoy teaching. In order to survive, she had to organize, plan, and simplify. Then, to thrive, Ms. Sneed needed to learn, engage, and finally – dive in! Follow the Fabulous Teaching Adventures of Ms. Sneed and learn how you can enjoy teaching too.