Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Madeline Leslie: Week 12

I want to be an elementary teacher when I grow up. More specifically I would like to teach the 3rd grade. So, I decided to look at the blueprints from grade 3 Mathematics and the item samplers for Mathematics grades 3-5. Based on the blueprint of my topic, the purpose of the exam that I will create would be to make sure my students understand number sense, computation, algebra and functions, geometry, measurement, and problem solving. Questions about number sense may include representing numbers and values in words, models, and expanded form. Questions about computations may include adding and subtracting whole numbers with or without regrouping. Questions about algebra and functions may include solving problems involving numeric equations. Questions about geometry may include identifying quadrilaterals. Questions about measurements may include measuring line segments. Questions about problem solving may include solving problems by identifying relationships among numbers. This form of assessment will provide the instructor with information on whether or not the students understand what has been taught in the classroom. For the most part, I think these questions are fair because the exact topics that were mentioned in the blueprint are being displayed in the item samplers. However, the questions can sometimes be very tricky. The might require some more challenging thinking than what was practiced in the classroom. This is why the questions can sometimes be unreliable. Also, because some of the questions are worded differently than what the students are used to or because they require one step more of thinking, the student performance can decrease than what the child would be used to seeing. These types of statewide and national examinations can impact students in many different ways. For example, these types of tests motivate students to do their very best. For example, when students are older and have to take the SAT and ACT for college, these tests will motivate students to do as well as possible so that they can be accepted into the college of their choice.


  1. Getting a good score might motivate a student who already cares about his/her academic success. Even so these students are only extrinsicly motivated and likely to resort to superficial study tactics which only make them temporarily successful. In this way, the purpose of assessments backfire and do not insure the information is actually learned to the point that it benefits the individual. The real challenge remains for teachers to create assessments which intrinsicly motivate and create life long learners. My Question is how do we make sure we are REALLY teaching them in a way that equips them for life? My idea is formative assessment DURING the learning process. The teacher prepares a project assignment which fills learning objectives, is within reach of the students abilities, and is flexible for their interest/creativity. These to me are the best motivating assessments. Any other ideas?

  2. I have looked at the blueprint and samples which Madeline examined for 3rd grade mathematics. I recognize teachers must start preparing students for these standardized tests much ealier than 3rd grade. The best way would be to model these kinds of test questions in classwork and actively target skills used on the ISTEP. Beyond just learning the content it is now neccessary to practice for the test itself. They need to see diagrams and charts and practice reading them and recognizing patterns. They should practice filling in the bubbles on multiple choice questions. Teach them stategies for mc?s like the process of elimination. Stress to them the importance of "showing their work" by rewarding partial credit on homework. Ask them to "justify" their anwers and show you how they got there. Explaining their own thought process develops their thinking skills. Practice problem solving strategies like drawing pictures to represent and compare numbers. Challenge students to solve higher level problems so that they "develop a range of problem solving skills." Challenging tasks should require critical thinking and reasoning. One example might be to ask students to create a word problem (after presenting several examples of course)and work out eachother's problems. This is a motivating form of formative assessment done during the learning process as I spoke about above because they are being creative and showing they understand how word problems work.


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