Hi All,

 

My name is Liza, and I am a 4th grade inclusion teacher. My focus subjects are language arts and social studies.

Have any of you had - what you believed to be - an awsome year only to recieve horrible state scores?  I really thought my students were coming along very well. They were reading and utilizing reading strategies. Even my special ed students seemed to be improving.  From September to June, the number of my students that read BELOW grade level (DRA test) decreased from 16 to 6. I could hardly believe that only 8:24 students past the language arts section of thir standardized tests.

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Liza,
I feel your pain! I think most of us have had similar results at least once in our careers! If not for the whole class, at least for a few kiddos. It's so hard not to take those scores personally. Try turning any emotion over it into a determination to help your kids improve next year.

Because of the need to increase scores from year to year, I now implement a "test prep" unit for the 2-3 weeks before our testing. We practice filling in bubbles, talk about tips and tricks to taking tests, and discuss how to have a happy "medium" between knowing the tests are important & doing our best, but not letting them stress us out. I open the unit with a pretty silly powerpoint where I pull out my cell phone, tell the kids that I made some phone calls the night before, and then show them slides of tips & tricks from all of the famous people I "called" the night before including the President, Jonas Bros, Gary Paulsen, etc. Each slide has a photo of the famous person and a tip for taking the tests. I also have including some silly slides like a picture of the "Bachelor" asking for roses and Miley Cyrus asking for a ride to her concert. My 5th graders love it and ask to see it several times throughout the unit.

I'll be interested to see what other replies you get on this topic. Hopefully you'll get some good advice! :-)

-MIchelle TG
I agree with Liza about teaching it as a genre.  My students are so amazing at so many skills.  I literally have to go back and teach them the "basic" stuff so that they can succeed on the test.  There is also something to be said for being familiar with the test.  Little things like a vocabulary word can throw them off.  See if you can find a list of commonly used vocabulary on your state test and infuse it into your daily instruction.  If I say "big idea" and the test says "main idea" several students won't instinctively know it's the same thing.

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