Happy Saturday, friends! I am so excited about today’s schedule….sleep in, blog peruse, “boot camp” exercising with friends and family, and linking up with Joanne and her Spark Student Motivation Saturdays linky party! 🙂
I’m going to use the dreaded word “standardized testing” today. Despite my frustration with using that one method to judge my teaching ability and what students have learned, I know that it is not going away.
I spent 10 years in North Carolina and was spoiled by immediate testing feedback. We would test Tuesday – Thursday and receive scores back on Friday. Students were held accountable because if they were unsuccessful on the test, they spent the remaining weeks of school reviewing with the dreaded possibility of summer school on the horizon.
In South Carolina, school is long over before testing data is received. Although many of our students work hard on the test, it really has not merit with them because they’re already in the next grade before they even find out their results. EVERYTHING is hanging over our heads (teachers) and NOTHING is hanging over our students’ heads.
Last year, our 6th grade team created a PASS Prize Card to encourage our students to try their best on the test and use those strategies that we’d worked on all year.
Last year, the cards worked….”ok”…. This year they worked fabulously! One of the reasons that they worked so well is that this year 6th graders actually had to take the Writing test in February before the Reading test in May. Students who received all initials on their card spent a Friday morning celebrating their hard work. They were treated to ice cream sundaes and each room had a different activity – dancing, Wii games, board games, and movies. Those students who were unable to go to the Writing Incentive Party made doggone sure they went to the May PASS Incentive Party.
And their hard work paid off. My students went from 68% mastery to 72% mastery this year. 32% of those students scored on the Exemplary level. Whoop!
Well, off to get ready to get my butt kicked in boot camp….I’ll tell you all about it later….
Until the next time,