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Allowing Test Retakes—Without Getting Gamed

Debates about exam grades and retaking tests tend to coalesce, eventually, around the same arguments. One faction prioritizes subject mastery, the idea that it’s more important to get students to take incremental steps towards proficiency than to punish them with bad grades. The other side emphasizes personal responsibility, insisting that there are very few second chances in life, and that regular opportunities to retake tests simply teach kids that consequences are negotiable. But in a recent Facebook and Twitter poll about whether our teachers allow makeup tests, the discussion took a more practical turn. Most teachers agreed that retesting was sometimes appropriate, but expressed concerns about setting clear limits around the practice. A widespread problem: When given the option of makeup tests, students often gamed the system, failing the initial exam to see what it looked like—and then simply regurgitating the correct answers later. Mastery Quizzes An advantage of this strategy?

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Using Literacy Skills to Solve Math Word Problems When Concourse Village Elementary School (CVES) opened in 2013 in the wake of the planned phaseout of P.S. 385, which the New York City Department of Education had tagged with a D, students were struggling academically. “When we arrived, we found a major deficit across all content areas,” said incoming principal and school founder Alexa Sorden, who was particularly alarmed by the reading scores. “The first year was challenging because we were trying to come up with a plan and say, ‘OK, how are we going to make sure that all the children are reading on grade level so that they’re prepared?’” Sorden, a former literacy specialist and teacher, felt that a strong foundation in reading and writing underpinned success across all content areas—and she made it the school’s mission to be literacy-first.

TOOLS FOR LEARNING: Tools and Tactics to Measure Students’ Mastery of the Common Core Standards The Common Core State Standards (CCS) first appeared (or reared their ugly head, depending on your take) in 2009 as an initiative of the National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. A half-dozen states have yet to adopt the standards, which apply to English-language arts and mathematics (Next Generation Science Standards are indirectly related and cover science). The idea, at least, is a good one: Ensure high school students graduate either college- or career-ready. How that idea is carried out is yet another issue entirely. Assessing Prior Knowledge: What Do Your Students Already Know? Designing a one-size-fits-all lesson assumes that every student is starting from the same point. The reality is that students enter our classrooms with varied skillsets and prior knowledge. If teachers assess their students’ knowledge before diving into an explanation, lesson, or unit, they might be surprised by the wealth of experience and information that students bring into the classroom. I had the pleasure of working with teachers in Texas this week.

In High School, the Kids Are Not All Right I lost my first student to suicide not long ago. The student was no longer in my class at the time, nor even at the school, but I was flooded with the expected surge of feelings: overwhelming sadness, periodic despair, compulsive frame-by-frame replays of our every interaction. I felt the loss deeply. It was unspeakably tragic—for the student’s friends and family, for me, and for the world I’d hoped the student would help shape. I was haunted, too—I still am—by the fear of a similar tragedy among my raw-nerved and anxious students. Productions, Bubble Test Form Generator - Teaching Tools Use the new bubble test program for PDF printed bubble sheets! Go There Now! The PDF Bubbletest Generator now has the ability to use your own PDF template. That is a big deal because you can create your school's logo and letterhead with MS Word, save it as a PDF file, and use the PDF as a template. Then, you will have a bubbletest with your own custom letterhead! Your sheets will be "pixel clear", and you will have the ability to save your PDF on your PC, just like any other PDF file.

Depth of Knowledge Matrix - Elementary Math If you think others need to see this, share it on one of the sites below by clicking on the button. I’ve decided to expand upon my previous Depth of Knowledge Matrix that helped make it easier to distinguish between depth of knowledge levels in mathematics. While it is still useful, it didn’t cover every grade level and may be too broad in scope. So, I have made two new Depth of Knowledge Matrices: one for elementary mathematics and one for secondary mathematics. This week I am releasing the elementary mathematics matrix and next week will be secondary mathematics. The pictures below give you a preview of what each page of the matrix covers.

Overcoming Test Anxiety in High School A rapid heartbeat. Sweaty palms. Clouded thoughts. For many students, the biggest obstacle to passing a test isn’t what they know, but the anxiety they feel. Pricing Why different pricing for schools/districts and individual teachers? School and district purchases of MasteryConnect include special reporting features as well as multi-user management features. With individual teacher purchases, pricing reflects the possible variation in numbers of students for a single teacher. With BubbleScore-only plans, individual teacher pricing is not available and must be purchased at a school/district level with a minimum of one grade purchase. Shallowness (not Depth) of Knowledge If you think others need to see this, share it on one of the sites below by clicking on the button. Consider the two problems on adding two-digit numbers shown below that are of varying Depth of Knowledge (DOK) levels: When I gave both of these problems to my then second-grade son (who is fortunately a mini-math geek like his dad), he quickly conquered Problem One with it providing no real challenge. When I showed him Problem Two, he got 98 + 76.