Today I administered “The Sequel” of Indiana’s standardized test to a small group of sixth graders. This portion was all multiple choice. Last month was the first round of the test where students completed the written response portions.
At the end of the testing session, I was left with similar feelings as the last round. However, the overriding feelings was this: Workshop prepares students for standardized tests.
It seems teachers often feel the need to forgo Workshop in order to focus on “test prep experiences.” As I administered the test today, I noticed all of the ways Workshop prepares students for this situation. (Not to mention all of the other situations Workshop prepares students for — however, the focus of this post is just the preparation for standardized testes.)
- There were several passages students had to read. Workshop builds stamina when students are given chunks of time devoted to reading. When faced with long passages, they are not overwhelmed.
- Often students are asked to determine importance, another skill which Workshop prepares them for.
- When asked about grammar, it was in context. Students are given choices and must chose the one that is correct or incorrect.
As we continue to teach according to best practice, we prepare students for all kinds of tasks they will face. I’ve come to believe the more we are familiar with the format of standardized tests, the more we can offer experiences to our students which will prepare them to know how to THINK through standardized test questions, not for the purpose of succeeding on one test, but for the purpose of being proficient readers and writers.
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