It's almost the time of year teachers enter into panic mode and freak their students out by talking about the dreaded Test.
We don't mean to freak our students out, but we want them to show what they know! This test shows if we did our job or not, right?
I use another thing teachers dread to plan out how I am going to review: Data. I love it; I don't always love what it says. But, I'm a math teacher, why wouldn't I love data.
Before reviewing for the test begins, I look at data. While we are reviewing for the test, I look at data. It helps me form a plan and make sure that I am using the precious few weeks of review effectively and efficiently.
Where do I get this data?
First, you have to have tests you can collect data from. What is the point of giving a test if you aren't going to use it to adjust your instruction?
In order to collect data from tests, you have to write a test that gives you data. From the first year I taught, I have created tests with my team based on the standards we were teaching. We decide how many questions, which standards to test and then wrote or found questions. We coded each test with the standards we were testing.
The last few years of teaching, the districts I taught in had Eduphoria-which is awesome at tracking data. Once you input the test question and the standard it aligns to, all the work is done for you. Before I had Eduphoria, that data was collected by hand. I counted up how many students missed which questions--which are already aligned to the standards--and I had a picture of how my class did as a whole.
Once I have the data, I have an idea of which concepts need to be reviewed. I don't pick them all! Instead, I choose topics that I know will be more heavily covered on the test AND those that I feel students will be able to master in the short amount of time we will have left.
2. Exit Tickets
If you want some data that is quick and easy, exit tickets are your answer. They can be short responses or multiple choice. You can quickly look through the exit tickets and sort your students into piles and make groups.
If your exit tickets has 3 multiple choice questions, you sort students into groups based on how many they got right and then create your small groups based on that.
My lesson plans during review time are flexible. I know which standards I am covering and about how much time I want to spend. With exit tickets, I know if what I am doing is working or if I need to spend an extra day.
Not all data has to be quantitative! Qualitative data and teacher instinct can have its place, but don't base all your review decisions on it.
I might have students that second guess themselves while testing, or rely on their group for the answers, or who preform well in class, but bomb the tests. These observations are important to me to help students
Want to still love teaching even through test prep season? Visit Leaf and Stem Learning.
Here's a great idea for Groundhog Day from Route 22 Education.
--Once you have made a plan for reviewing, make sure to keep your lessons engaging and interesting for students. This is not the time to abandon your best teaching skill in favor of test prep!
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