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August 29. 2017

4 Steps to Cope with Testing Demands

Students in school are tested continually, and their success is most often measured by their performance on paper-and-pencil tests. The stakes are also high for teachers because their performance is judged by how many students meet the criteria for success. The demand for accountability is intense and has the potential to reduce the language and literacy continuum to a very narrow set of exercises. If we care about our students, we need to make sure test taking has positive outcomes.

While we cannot ignore tests, we cannot let them control our lives and the lives of our students. We need to find ways to cope with the demands of the testing environment and still help our students have happy, productive, and satisfying literacy experiences. To cope with testing demands:

  1. Analyze the genuine underlying skills that students need in order to be able to perform well on comprehensive proficiency tests.
  2. Create an ongoing curriculum to help students develop the genuine reading and writing abilities that will provide a foundation for good test performance (as well as all the benefits of a literate life).
  3. Analyze the ways of reading, writing, and displaying knowledge that tests require.
  4. Familiarize students with the ways to display knowledge and skills that will be expected of them in test performance.

Without the first two steps, the others are ineffective. Being a competent reader and writer is basic to performing well on tests.

From Guiding Readers & Writers by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2001 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.

August 28. 2017

The Power and Purpose of Assessment


 

It’s back-to-school time! Classroom organization is ready and routines are established. Now it’s time to start assessments, and that is not always an easy undertaking. First, assessment takes significant prep work: you have to print materials, note students’ prior level, set each student up in your data management system, and then assess every student in a reasonable amount of time while staying organized and keeping track of all materials and results! It’s a lot of work. It can be easy to get caught up in the logistics and lose sight of the main reason why we assess our students. So let’s take a step back and kick off the new school year thinking about the power and purpose of assessment. More...


August 24. 2017

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August 23. 2017

Ask Meli! August, 2017

Ask Meli is back!! Meli has received SO many wonderful questions and loves reading them all! It’s her favorite thing to do besides playing with her rubber chicken. She is so eager to answer them, so keep them coming!

Below are questions sent in from Gwen, Mila, Keandra, and Jaykub from Graham Elementary in Graham, WA.

Q: Dear Meli, I am a student in Graham, Washington. I know you like to go to the park. I like to go to the park too. Do you like to play in the backyard? ~Gwen

: Thank you for your letter. It was interesting to hear that you like to play in the park just like me! I like to run around in my backyard, too. Do you? Woof! Meli More...