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Test Practice or Test Preparation?

Test Practice or Test Preparation?. “There is a huge difference between test practice and test preparation.

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Test Practice or Test Preparation?

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  1. Test Practice or Test Preparation? “There is a huge difference between test practice and test preparation. Test practicehappens when teachers pass out reams of practice passages and questions that students dutifully complete. Test preparation occurs when passages and their corresponding questions are carefully analyzed by a team of students while they talk about HOW they might navigate the passage and HOW they might address the questions.” Linda Hoyt ~ author of Spotlight on Comprehension

  2. Teach the Attributes of a Test as a Genre • How wonderful it would be if students understood the genre so well, that they could navigate the test and move quickly and efficiently past the test hurdle! • When students pay attention to the attributes that make a test a test and notice the way this particular genre works, they develop an understanding of the structure of a test and the inherent game that is played by the test designers. (Hoyt, page. 363)

  3. Questions to consider. . . • What makes a test a test? • How is it different from a textbook and its questions? • What is the goal of the test writers? • What do we notice about the questions? • Is there a pattern to the way questions are worded? • What is the balance between fiction & nonfiction passages?

  4. Model the Language of Tests • Embed test-style language into your daily conversations about books, characters, etc. • Post question stems on a chart for student use. • Analyze test questions ~ what is this question really asking? • Remind students that the testing genre requires reliance on the text more than our ability to make connections and draw from our background.

  5. Why build stamina? • To establish good reading habits • To develop independent literacy routines • Purpose + Choice = Motivation • Students will have a love for reading

  6. Increasing Stamina • Tests are long! • Model techniques • Stretching • Changing positions • Get a new pencil • Focal point/look away

  7. Encourage Purposeful Reading • What’s the purpose? • Encourage students to skim/scan the questions prior to reading the selection. • While reading, they should underline/circle words and phrases that might help them find the right answer. • Make explicit connections between good test-taking practices and good general learning practices.

  8. Cover All Kinds of Questions • Ask questions that enhance comprehension and promote a range of interpretations. • Teach question and answer relationships (QAR). • Right There Questions • Think and Search Questions • Author and You Questions • In My Head Questions

  9. QAR

  10. Teaching Q-A-R “The researchers recommended that each strategy be taught with singular focus, over a long period of time, to students from kindergarten through twelfth grade and beyond, and that teachers model and students practice the strategies with a variety of texts. If teachers focused their attention on a strategy, beginning with a great deal of modeling and gradually releasing responsibility (Gallagher and Pearson, 1983) to the children to practice it independently, the researchers believed students could actually be taught to think differently as they read.” From Mosaic of Thought by Ellin Keene

  11. TURNS:A mnemonic • Title, Pictures and Predictions. Read the title and predict what you think the passage is about. Look at the pictures and/or charts. • Underline key words in the questions so you will have a purpose for reading. • Read the passage; stop to ask questions and underline possible answers. Number the paragraphs only if you need to. Write in the margins as you question the passage. • Now re-read the questions and remember to look back in the selection for proof; underline proof. • Study and select the best answer by eliminating incorrect answers.

  12. Teach Text Structure • Most tests are written in a standard format. • Students need to understand the testing structure to be successful test takers. • Text structures are an important part of both literacy training and test preparation.

  13. Actively Engage Students in Preparing! The Great Cover Up! • Use a sticky notes to cover up the multiple choice answers. • In groups or pairs, students look at question and write an appropriate answer. • Students must highlight or underline proof in the passage. • Once all questions have been answered, students lift sticky notes to reveal A,B, C, D choices. • Students determine which answer choice matches their written response. If none, students re-think the question.

  14. What was the question again? If these are the answers, what is the question? • Cover the appropriate questions with a sticky note. • In groups or pairs, students read the answer choices. • Students must infer from the answer choices what the question must be.

  15. Use test passages for teaching skills!

  16. Prove It! • In groups or pairs, students determine the answer to the question and then go back to the text to prove it. • Students can either use sticky notes to label their evidence or can lay question strips directly on the passage where the evidence appears.

  17. Be a Test Writer! • Give students a copy of the question stem document and a passage. • In groups or pairs, have students to create multiple choice questions for the passage after reading it. • Students can trade with another team or pair and answer the questions created. • Which statement best expresses the author’s main point? • What does the word _____connote as it is used in the sentence? • What is the effect of the metaphor in the 3rd sentence of the 1st paragraph? • Which sentence BEST summarizes the information in paragraph 4?

  18. So what do I do now? • Set goals with students and use informal assessments to regularly monitor their progress. • Implement a Self Selected Reading (SSR) period at least once a week to increase stamina in grades 7-12. In grades 3rd-6th, SSR should happen each day. • Actively engage students in authentic literacy activities so that they become capable readers and writers. • Introduce strategies such as TURNS and QAR. • Explain the purpose of the tests and how the results will be used, without making students anxious.

  19. “Testing is not teaching, but we can teach how to comprehend the standardized tests that are a reality in the lives of our children.” Graves, 2002

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