November 17, 2014

Preparing Students for the New Tests

A recent post at Core Task Project details what teachers can do to better prepare their students for the new accountability tests rolling-out this Spring. Titled, 'How to and How Not to Prepare Students for the New Tests', the post cautions against skill-based test prep measures that interrupt instruction, instead offering research and resources to support learning aligned to the Common Core Instructional Shifts. For those of you interested in what you might do in anticipation of the next generation assessments, the post is linked here and is featured in full below. 

‘How and How Not to Prepare Students for the New Tests’Posted on by  
A popular question, since Nevada officially adopted the SBAC Test for the 2014-2015, is how to best prepare students for the coming assessments. I certainly have an opinion and have consistently noted that if you take full advantage of well-vetted resources, including the Basal Alignment Project, Close Read Exemplars, Core Knowledge, We the People curriculum, Document Based Questions, and the resources at www.63000resources, you can feel confident that you are headed in the right direction. Yet, some vendors and national consultants outline a different strategy in which you diagnose skill deficits and remediate. Dr. Timothy Shanahan, the former President of the International Reading Association and work team member on the Common Core State Standards, challenges this strategy in a piece for The Reading Teacher. He writes:
Already, new test prep materials are starting to appear on the Internet, and teachers ask me all the time how they can best prepare students to respond to these new items. Many educators assume that, since these tests will be aligned to the CCSS, they will detect which standards the students are meeting: Johnny meets Reading Standard 4 but is still not getting Standard 7.
The problem is that it doesn’t work that way. It hasn’t in the past, and it won’t with these new tests, either.
Dr. Shanahan follows this claim with the research to buttress his assertion and suggestions for how best to prepare for the coming assessments. You can gain access to the full article here.

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