I am most interested in teaching at the 5th grade level with a concentration in the area of social studies. According to the ISTEP+ Grade5 Social Studies Blueprint is primarily concerned with the students of this particular age to know the basics of 1. being history itself, 2- Civics and Government, 3-Geography and lastly Economics. Link http://www.doe.in.gov/sites/default/files/assessment/grade-5-ss.pdf
The ISTEP+ item sampler acts as a guideline to teachers for what sort of questions will be asked at this grade level as far as where the child is as far as being educated on the matter of history being taken into account in the classroom at the 5th grade level the sampler suggests that students will not be just answering multiple choice questions but as well as critical thinking questions that could take a while to answer in which they could ask questions about different indian tribes , european exploration, supply and demand and so on. Heres the link http://www.doe.in.gov/sites/default/files/assessment/istep-social-studies-item-sampler-grades-5-7feb-2011_0.pdf
The purpose of the exam I would take in preparing my students would be to make sure we not only know the material but create fun things we could do that could help us retain this sort of information when it comes time to be tested on it , perhaps act out a play- role playing important historian figures and so on.
I feel like the standards for this test are not to challenging and seem like common things that aren't to difficult for a student to be able to keep straight and be able to know at this particular age range. Although I am all for following standard guidelines of what students should know by a certain point to an extent. I don't feel like a state wide test is the best option in getting to make sure that the teachers are doing their job in the classroom. When I did my field experience at Hatfield Elementary School, these teachers were pushing so much at the students learning wise so closely together I didn't even have time to comprehend everything that was going on so I am sure they weren't sure 100 percent of the time that was going on. The teacher even felt like the students had to much work do than what they had time to teach to them based on state standards.
The types of questions on the ISTEP+ standard blueprint/ samplers I feel will be of use down the road whenever it comes time to prepare for harder test such as the ACT/ SAT/ Praxis or whatever huge important test it might be having the basic knowledge of how to answer more in depth critical thinking questions you will be better off. It could potentially motivate the students to do well in school for if they do well on the test and get a high score that might push them harder to continue to learn and perform better in the school.