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Test Practice or Test Preparation?

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Presentation on theme: "Test Practice or Test Preparation?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Test Practice or Test Preparation?
“There is a huge difference between test practice and test preparation.” “Test practice happens when teachers pass out reams of practice passages and questions that students dutifully complete. Test preparation occurs when passages and their corresponding questions are carefully analyzed by a team of students while they talk about HOW they might navigate the passage and HOW they might address the questions.” Linda Hoyt, author, Spotlight on Comprehension Prepared by: Dimple J. Martin, Ph.D., Reading/Language Arts, K-5

2 Teach the Attributes of a Test as a Genre
How wonderful it would be if students understood the genre so well, that they could navigate the test and move quickly and efficiently past the test hurdle. When students pay attention to the attributes that make a test a test and notice the way this particular genre works, they develop an understanding of the structure of a test and the inherent game that is played by the test designers. (Hoyt, page. 363)

3 Questions to consider. . . What makes a test a test?
How is it different from a textbook and its questions? What is the goal of the test writers? What do we notice about the questions? Is there a pattern to the way questions are worded? What is the balance between fiction & nonfiction passages? Knowing what makes test-taking unique allows us to teach skills as we would in any genre: Tests require you to: • work silently • work alone work without tiring • work with a unique structure (multiple choice, etc.) • work with time constraints

4 Test Reading Classroom Reading
Multiple answer choices but only one is correct There can be more than one right answer. We are expected to use the selection information to help answer the comprehension questions. We can use what we know from our lives to help us answer questions. Test directions & questions are a bit like a puzzle ~ we have to figure out what the test question is asking. If a question isn’t clear, I can ask someone for help. The teacher cannot explain or give me any help at all. The teacher makes sure I get help when I need it. There are numerous reading selections that are not related at all ~ each is like a separate story. Usually we only read one selection at a time and then answer comprehension questions. On a test it is important to read EVERYTHING…pictures, captions, charts, graphs, all directions & answer choices, etc. I might skim and scan some of the information knowing that the teacher will discuss the reading with the class.

5 Model the Language of Tests
Embed test-style language into your daily conversations about books, characters, etc. Post question stems on a chart for student use. Analyze test questions - what is this question really asking? Remind students that the testing genre requires reliance on the text more than our ability to make connections and draw from our background. Use the district compiled questions stems handout, use Bloom’s, Depth of Knowledge, and/or Costa’s to create varying levels of questions. Remind students, too, to look for clue words: What is the MAIN purpose? What is MOST LIKELY? Teachers should model writing test-style questions; then allow students to design their own test-style questions. Use their questions in the classroom for content review that is focused while learning about tests. (REMINDER FOR TEACHERS: If you are making your own questions, remember to italicize, use bold print, asterisks, etc just as you would see on the test.) REMINDER: Model and role play what we ourselves do in stressful situations, and then ask kids to demonstrate what they do when they are stressed out.  In this way, students can build a repertoire of strategies to pull out during a test.  Empowerment comes when we feel in control.

6 Why build stamina? To establish good reading habits
To develop independent literacy routines Purpose + Choice = Motivation Students will have a love for reading Incorporate Self Selected Reading into your week! When time is tight, independent reading is usually the 1st thing to be cut. Independent Reading is not just another activity added to the day ~ it is a critical component of literacy learning. . . A context in which the reader applies smart reading behaviors. Be sure to conference during this time. . . Students could keep a readers log or reading response type sheet.

7 Increasing Stamina Tests are long! Model techniques Stretching
Changing positions Get a new pencil Focal point/look away

8 Encourage Purposeful Reading
What’s the purpose? Encourage students to skim/scan the questions prior to reading the selection. While reading, they should underline/circle words and phrases that might help them find the right answer. Make explicit connections between good test-taking practices and good general learning practices. Students need to be purposeful readers of standardized tests. The purpose? They are reading selections to answer questions so they can perform well on the test ~ BOTTOM LINE.

9 Cover All Kinds of Questions
Ask questions that enhance comprehension and promote a range of interpretations. Teach question and answer relationships (QAR). Right There Questions Think and Search Questions Author and You Questions In My Head Questions Range of interpretations: inferential, literal, personal, etc. Question-Answer Relationships, or QAR, is a reading comprehension strategy developed to "clarify how students approach the tasks of reading texts and answering questions" (Raphael 1986). It encourages students to be active, strategic readers of texts. QAR outlines where information can be found "In the Text" or "In my Head." It then breaks down the actual question-answer relationships into four types: Right There, Think and Search, Author and Me, and On My Own.  Why Is It Important? Students often follow an extremely literal or "in their head" approach when answering questions about what they have read. Understanding question-answer relationships helps students learn the kind of thinking that different types of questions require, as well as where to go for answers in the text. It encourages students to be more efficient and strategic readers. Teaching students about question-answer relationships can help them to ask effective questions as they read and respond to the text. Teachers use questioning strategies to guide and monitor student learning and to promote higher-level thinking in their students. Teaching students the QAR strategy encourages teachers to be aware of, and, it is hoped, improve the types of thinking they are requiring of their students. Understanding how the question-answer relationship works is an important component of comprehending text. According to research cited by the National Institute for Literacy, teaching about question-answer relationships is an effective strategy for improving comprehension when used as part of a multiple-strategy model (2001). TeacherVision

10 QAR

11 Teaching Q-A-R “The researchers recommended that each strategy be taught with singular focus, over a long period of time, to students from kindergarten through twelfth grade and beyond, and that teachers model and students practice the strategies with a variety of texts. If teachers focused their attention on a strategy, beginning with a great deal of modeling and gradually releasing responsibility (Gallagher and Pearson, 1983) to the children to practice it independently, the researchers believed students could actually be taught to think differently as they read.” Resources to support QAR are in Pinpoint-Balanced Literacy Toolbox-Resources for Comprehension-QAR From Mosaic of Thought by Ellin Keene

12 TURNS: A mnemonic Title, Pictures and Predictions. Read the title and predict what you think the passage is about. Look at the pictures and/or charts. Underline key words in the questions so you will have a purpose for reading. Read the passage; stop to ask questions and underline possible answers. Number the paragraphs only if you need to. Write in the margins as you question the passage. Now re-read the questions and remember to look back in the selection for proof; underline proof. Study and select the best answer by eliminating incorrect answers. Resources to support teaching and using TURNS are in Pinpoint-Balanced Literacy Toolbox-Resources for Comprehension-TURNS. T.U.R.N.S. is a reading strategy that sets the purpose for reading using an easily remembered acronym. Using T.U.R.N.S. helps readers to identify important concepts, establish a context for reading, and predict what ideas might be contained in the text. Using a reading strategy such as T.U.R.N.S. enhances comprehension and retention of the information and ideas encountered during reading. Previewing the questions helps the reader to create a "mental map" that can be used as the reader moves through the text (Learning Assistance and Resource Center, 2007).  Note: The specific mnemonic strategy will need to be modeled and students should go through the steps of the mnemonic until they can use it independently. Allow students opportunities to practice orally and provide corrective feedback.

13 Teach Text Structure Most tests are written in a standard format.
Students need to understand the testing structure to be successful test takers. Text structures are an important part of both literacy training and test preparation. TEACH TEXT STRUCTURE: What does this mean? Teaching tips: Answers about where and when the story take place are often found at the beginning. Answers about a problem in the story are usually found in the middle. Answers about how a problem was resolved are often found at the end. Knowing where to look will save students valuable time.

14 Actively Engage Students in Preparing!
The Great Cover Up! Use a sticky notes to cover up the multiple choice answers. In groups or pairs, students look at question and write an appropriate answer. Students must highlight or underline proof in the passage. Once all questions have been answered, students lift sticky notes to reveal A,B, C, D choices. Students determine which answer choice matches their written response. If none, students re-think the question.

15 What was the question again?
If these are the answers, what is the question? Cover the appropriate questions with a sticky note. In groups or pairs, students read the answer choices. Students must infer from the answer choices what the question must be.

16 Use test passages for teaching skills!

17 Prove It! In groups or pairs, students determine the answer to the question and then go back to the text to prove it. Students can either use sticky notes to label their evidence or can lay question strips directly on the passage where the evidence appears.

18 Be a Test Writer! Give students a copy of the question stem document and a passage. In groups or pairs, have students to create multiple choice questions for the passage after reading it. Students can trade with another team or pair and answer the questions created. Which statement best expresses the author’s main point? What does the word _____connote as it is used in the sentence? What is the effect of the metaphor in the 3rd sentence of the 1st paragraph? Which sentence BEST summarizes the information in paragraph 4?

19 So what do I do now? Set goals with students and use informal assessments to regularly monitor their progress. Implement a Self Selected Reading (SSR) period at least once a week to increase stamina in grades In grades 3rd-6th, SSR should happen each day. Actively engage students in authentic literacy activities so that they become capable readers and writers. Introduce strategies such as TURNS and QAR. Explain the purpose of the tests and how the results will be used, without making students anxious.

20 “Testing is not teaching, but we can teach how to comprehend the standardized tests that are a reality in the lives of our children.” Testing is not a matter of choice, so the reality is-we must prepare students. However, the best test preparation involves a rich, engaging curriculum coupled with ongoing assessment that is integrated into instruction. Students should have experience with a variety of text types of varying lengths, including longer texts. Students should be familiar with the kinds of items they will see on the test and with general test-taking strategies, but this should not be a major focus of instruction! Graves, 2002

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