Are they gonna blow it when it counts????

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by AdamnJakesMommy, May 22, 2014.

  1. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    May 22, 2014

    Ugh, I'm so irritated with my two classes right now! I gave a practice EOG today and used the state's scales to show what achievement level they would be on. Overall, most kids stayed on the same level they earned last year, although a couple showed growth, and a few slipped (lows 2s to 1s), ( 3s to 2s) and (4s to 3s). I had EC kids move from 1s to 2s and one from a 1 to a 3!

    I couldn't believe how many CARELESS mistakes the majority of kids made. I feel most of them could've done a lot better if they actually answered the question being asked, bubbled in the answers, bubbled in the answer they circled in the book instead of a different letter on the answer sheet! Seriously? I feel like some just don't care, like they know that the district isn't gonna fail them even if they blow it off (and they're right). The rest, I know (because I've taught them all year) just don't want to think the problem through. They know the skills, they can do the math, but they just want problem-solving spoon fed to them. I've told them that I'm like their personal trainer, I can show them how to do a push up, I can coach them through their push up, I can cheer them on while they do a push up, I can scaffold them through the push up, but I cannot do their push up for them. And it's like they want the push up done for them. I had kids who should've made 4s, make 3s. I had kids who should've made 3s, make 2s--and it's just due to not thinking it through. We've done word problems all year long, many of which were different variations of the SAME word problems they saw today. I've reiterated, reiterated, reiterated, done word problems with them EVERY DAY.

    Anyone have any advice on how to get them focused and take the EOG seriously?

    Next year I'm transferring to social studies, my original certification area, and it can't come soon enough!
     
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  3. missrebecca

    missrebecca Comrade

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    May 22, 2014

    The 4th grade teachers I work with push kids REALLY hard on standardized tests. I personally am not as demanding, because I think it stresses out the kids too much, but here are some strategies I've seen:

    Have students mark answers on booklet AND bubble sheet
    Have students go back and check their answers (even if student says they did, make them sit with the test for 5-10 minutes)
    Have students write an "I know, because..." statement on every question
    Have students use strategies such as numbering paragraphs in passages, underlining key phrases, crossing out unnecessary information, doing math word problem strategies (such as "CUBES")
    Walk around making tallies on a clipboard for students showing their work, and reward those who showed the most work at the end of the day
    Walk around and let students know if they skipped any bubbles
    Tell students that if they all get a certain score or show all their work, you'll have a class party

    This is assuming kids are allowed to write in the test booklets.

    I'm not sure if you're really supposed to do these things, but that's what I've seen. The teachers who do all of the above at my school usually have kids testing for an hour or two longer than mine.
     
  4. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    May 22, 2014

    My kids always did terrible on EOG prep and pulled it out in the end. They know it doesn't 'count' and NC pushes their tests waaayyyyyyy too much. They are EOGed out.
     
  5. Math

    Math Cohort

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    May 22, 2014

    Don't the EOG's count for teachers though?
     
  6. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    May 22, 2014

    If you are referring to my post... EOGs count, but the endless amounts of practice and prep tests do not. I guess I can only speak for my former district, but about 4-8 weeks before the test, the teachers began doing countless practice tests. The last 3-4 weeks prior to the test, it is 100% test prep. The kids are over it and their effort is terrible. In my first few years, I did what the others did. Then I realized how ridiculous it is, and lightened up on the test prep. My kids always scored WAY better on the actual EOG than the practice EOG.

    In contrast, the MEAP is not nearly as big of a deal here in MI. Granted, prior to moving to NC, my experience was mostly K-2, but even as a student, it was rarely talked about. In NC it is drilled into kids heads beginning the first day of school.
     
  7. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    May 23, 2014

    It's a fine balance to walk, because these stupid tests are important, but once you start putting emphasis on them, it starts stressing the kids out. For my part, completely downplaying our state tests seems to help.
     
  8. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    May 23, 2014

    It's not that they don't care. Get that out of your mind right now, or you won't really be able to help them.

    Being careful about being precise is a skill that can take a long time to learn. misrebecca gives a lot of good suggestions above.

    "Answer the question being asked" is something I'm sure a lot of high school teachers need to tell their students. I'm sure you'll see it in SS too, where you ask a particular question and the person instead dumps everything they know about a topic onto the paper, writing as fast as they can.

    Having the kids explain the answers might help -- not just explaining why the right answer is right, but also why each wrong answer is wrong (assuming a multiple-choice type of test).
     
  9. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    May 23, 2014

    I made the mistake of making too big a deal out of the standardized test my first year teaching a grade with one (I haven't had to teach that grade, or any other grade with a standardized test since). I learned that with all my "test prep" I had actually worn them down to the point where they were so tired of writing that they did terribly on the test.

    One of those life lessons I had to learn.
     
  10. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    May 26, 2014

    This is a common problem in my school. We teach test taking strategies explicitly some students use them, so don't. This year I've been lucky. I think it's a mixture of the kids I have and the culture for learning my co-teaching and I have set up in the classroom, but they are very careful about those things and using test taking strategies to ensure they're doing their best. That's not to say there aren't a few that don't make constant careless mistakes or a kid that slips up every once in awhile. I like to conference with students about this. I take out the paper and show them their silly mistakes or ask them what they were doing. It opens their eyes to how careless they've been, because usually they don't even realize it unless you point it out to them- they can be overly confident sometimes. This didn't make a difference with one student, so I started pulling out those silly mistakes and showing his mother, because she didn't understand how he could be doing so poorly on tests. Eventually it turned into a behavior sheet for him (because he makes careless mistakes on everything and has a lack of effort, not just tests.) So I would give him a score each day for his classwork and his effort in each subject and send it home to his mom. It was tied to a prize or a consequence and helped improve his effort.
     
  11. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    May 26, 2014

    Coming from a former non-studious student:

    What's in it for them if they do well? Is it part of their report card grade? When I was a kid, if you gave me a test and said the scores would not come out until after the school year was over, I would have given it very minimal effort. You would have been lucky if I read the passages before I answered the questions and actually worked out the multiple choice math problems.

    After all, you can just read the questions and look for the answers. And any idiot can look at a multiple choice math problem and guess which one is right.

    When the low scores came back, I'm pretty sure I would have explained them either by claiming I was not as smart as every says or that the school didn't teach me very well. Either way, wasn't anything I could do about it. Not my problem.
     
  12. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    May 26, 2014

    I was the same way.

    I was a really good student - honors classes, TAG program, good gpa, all of that. I never cared how I did on standardized tests because no one could ever tell me how it would impact me if I didn't do well, because ultimately, it didn't. Some I purposely didn't even try on because I was bored and annoyed that I had to take them. It's one of the many big issues I have with high stakes testing.

    As a teacher, I know that's awful, but really - why should they care unless it effects their gpa or whether they pass a class?
     
  13. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    May 26, 2014

    Any idiot cannot just look and guess at the math problems on the common core math test my students took this year. And as far as reading goes, sometimes you can't just look for the answers on these tests either.
     
  14. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    May 26, 2014

    I think you missed the point of the post. Sarge was speaking from his own perspective as a former non-studious student, not his current perspective as a teacher.
     
  15. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    May 26, 2014

    I didn't miss the point at all. I'm just saying that those thoughts don't really pertain to test taking situations today and students need to be taught otherwise- in my experience most figure that out on their own.
     
  16. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    May 27, 2014

    Actually you did miss the point. I was demonstrating exactly how I would have viewed a standardized test when I was in school.

    You could have taught me test taking skills until you were blue in the face. But unless you gave me a tangible reason to give a rodent's behind, the chances of me giving the test any tangible effort were very minimal.
     
  17. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    May 27, 2014

    I had a kid like that last year. Bright kid, generally got 95%+ on classroom assessments... finished the math SOL in about ten minutes. When I asked him why, he flat-out said it didn't go on his report card, so he didn't care.
     
  18. jpommes

    jpommes New Member

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    May 30, 2014

    I think these two suggestions are great because they reinforce the practical idea of "measure twice, cut once" -- an important quality-assurance habit that too many people haven't developed.
     
  19. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    May 31, 2014

    Well, I was ueber vigilant during the EOG and I saw a LOT of good things with my first core (the core I'm most worried about), and still some carelessness, like selecting an answer choice of 8 inches instead of 8 feet!!!!! UGH! But, overall I think my kids did okay. I'm confident one of them went from a 1 last year to a 3 or even a 4 this year! I know some of them stayed 1s and some of them did worst then they did last year just because they refuse to take their time and work the problem line by line, they just read the whole thing, look for key words, and then compute. Unfortunately, the problems are getting more abstract as they move up through the grades and they actually have to think the problem through. The ones (2 of them) who think that is too much work, refuse to do it despite every intervention (including TUTORING and enrichment pullouts). Can't wait to get the scores back and see how they did!
     

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