[MOSAIC] Student Teacher Posting-Amy

ljackson ljackson at gwtc.net
Thu Aug 2 06:40:39 EDT 2007

Much of our testing is computerized. Your point about prep is excellent.
One of our tests redirects students after three incorrect responses, making
adjustments in item difficulty tied to grade level standards.  It also
become increasingly difficult for children who continue to get correct
answers.  In the end, you can get a very clear picture of who the child is
academically but the results are all computer accessed and getting there is
very involved.   So it has the potential to be, perhaps, more telling than
other assessments.  However, it doesn't seem to work that way.  Having all
this rather itemy information seems to lead some teachers off on a bunch of
tangents (so that in math, our curriculum is actually undermined).   These
are not required tests, but in the past have been administered three times a
year (going to twice this year). Our kids have different access to
computers, but at the elementary levels our labs are still desktops.  Guess
what though, rural American cannot always guarantee a consistent flow of
information across the information highway!  So connections are lost or the
net can be down for days...

Our standardized tests that really matter in terms of NCLB and all the big
uglies come later in the school year, which I suppose is in, some small
part, a blessing.  They remain paper and pencil.  I am privy to results at a
district level and can tell you, it is not test prep that makes the
difference. We have schools that have become somewhat frenzied in terms of
test prep, while others have focused on instruction that is somewhat
standard driven but with an expectation that is will be constructivist and
balanced.  We are a district in trouble--high poverty, attendance issues,
community safety and so we have to look more closely at all test results. In
terms of AYP issues, just a handful of school are making safe harbor but
many, many schools have made significant improvements.  83% was the magic
number for really making the grade with advance and proficient readers.  Can
you imagine? We have schools that have made tremendous gains (particularly
very small rural schools) but the rest of us, we are just dying.  So I am
talking about looking at trajectories and steps towards an impossible goal.
But still, I can honestly say-- it  is teaching, creating passion and
engagement among kids that matters.


On 8/2/07 12:05 AM, "Beverlee Paul" <beverleepaul at hotmail.com> wrote:

> I'm reading responses and just can't stop thinking about our dilemma.  I
> wonder if anyone else is in the situation we're in.  Our school district
> decided to abandon the Terra Nova or any other nationally-normed achievement
> test.  Instead our kids take Levels tests out of NWEA.  There are a number
> of issues with that decision:  it's primarily a vocabulary test, it's (in my
> opinion) biased, and a number of other deep issues.  But what I'd like to
> ask you about is the fact that it is all done on the computer.  Here are
> some issues that arise because of that:  you can't teach any typical
> test-taking strategies because it's linear and you can't go back; prime
> test-taking time for any given class of kids has little relevance because
> the whole school has to be scheduled for the lab and, of course, that means
> only one class is testing at a time; keys falling off computers; running out
> of battery in the middle of the test; and you don't even want me to go on!!
> Does anyone else face this situation and, if so, how do you make it better
> for the kids?  Thanks.
> Creecher12 at aol.com wrote:
>    Hello, my name is Amy Goodman and I am taking Nancy Creech's summer
> reading
> comprehension class. I will be graduating after completing student-teaching
> in the fall and couldn't be more excited to finally begin teaching and
> hopefully making the difference we all dream to make.
> The Mosaic of Thought strategies have changed the way I look at reading and
> reading comprehension. I hope to make use of these strategies throughout my
> teaching career in every aspect and content area of learning. I understand
> that these strategies have even been put to use when preparing students for
> standardized testing. My question then, is how much do we stray from class
> content to cover "standardized testing content"? As a new teacher I am at a
> loss
> between the two. Any suggestions or ideas on how to prepare for standardized
> tests without "straying too far" or cutting too much course content?
> Thank you in advance for your help, advice, and expertise.
> ~Amy Goodman
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Lori Jackson
District Literacy Coach & Mentor
Todd County School District
Box 87
Mission SD  57555
ph. 605.856.2211

Literacies for All Summer Institute
July 17-20. 2008
Tucson, Arizona

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