Wednesday, January 30, 2013

the test mess...and data driven instruction

So - I've been administering the ACCESS test to my EL's this week... and for the next two weeks...
Some are easy... others are not. The scheduling has been the biggest headache for me so far. 

Easy - Kindergarten - they take about an hour, have 6 sections, and you are done. 
Not So Easy - 1st -5th grade
Each of these is broken into three sections
writing
speaking
listening and reading

and each is based on their ability level - so I have 4 fourth graders, but I have three versions of the test; one for the level A's, one for the level B's, and one for the level C's. 

I know you're jealous... :) 

Overall - I am happy with what I have seen from my kiddos. I'm never a 'teach to the test' kind of teacher. I'm a firm believer that a good teacher can test prep without practicing sample after sample of previous tests. This is my first year giving THIS type of test... and it's interesting to see what this test is like. It will help me plan my instruction and activities to better meet the needs of my EL's. 
Reflection is the key - I always need to think about how to do it better... I graph everything and record data on my kiddos all year (yes, yes I am a DORK!), but it really helps me focus on what the objective is, how they are doing, and what I can do better. 
In my part of the world we call it "Data-Driven Instruction". 
I went to trainings and everything... 

pre-test - look for patterns
set a goal
teach only the skills the children need!
(if they have already mastered it - don't waste your time on it!) - this is where small groups are AWESOME!
test - look for patterns
reteach if needed....

it sounds so uptight formal... :) 
Even simple things like anecdotal notes can be used to collect data - who 'gets' it and who doesn't!
or
looking at a math test - and noticing that almost everyone missed the same question..
It's just a fancy way to reflect on my own teaching...

What are some other informal assessments you use in your classroom? 
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