Thursday, March 31, 2016

What To Do After Testing

It is so hard to believe that testing season is officially here. In Texas, 8th grade is considered and SSI year. What is SSI? It means Student Success Initiative and translate into crazy amounts of testing. The 8th graders, if they failed their state assessment, get to have mandatory remedial tutoring and retake the test again in May. If they fail again, they go to summer school and take the test again in June. This all occurs because they must pass the test in order to advance to high school.

So, yeah. Here we are in March and my 8th graders just took their math state assessment on Tuesday. Buuuutttt...what do I do with the other 11 weeks of school???

Since I am not only math but also special education, I fill in this time with a combination of things:
  1. I focus on personal financial literacy for my students. Not only are they state standards, but I will do a lot of real-world practice such as learning to budget for an apartment or food. This is an area that ANY student needs to know before they graduate high school, and sadly, many of my students are definitely not being taught good skills at home.
  2. I will reteach areas that have been a weakness for my students this school year. As optimistic as I am, there is a good chance that at least a few of my students will not pass their state assessment and will have to take it again in May. By reteaching math skills, my students will not have a chance to forget everything they have learned this year and will get to have extra practice at mastering those skills before retaking their state assessment.
  3. I will teach some new skills that will prepare my students for Algebra I in high school. By pre-teaching some of the skills, my students will (hopefully) have a leg-up when high school comes around because they have seen some of the beginning Algebra I skills before. This will make the transition at the beginning of the school year easier for the teachers that will receive my students next year.
By doing a combination of all 3 of these, I am hoping I give my students the best possible advantage in all areas the last 11 weeks they are with me. However, I am always open to learn from the seasoned pros about better ways to utilize the time after state assessments.

If you have any ideas on how to best use time after state assessments, please leave a comment below so that other people can share in your knowledge.

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