Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Week 12 blog

The topic that I have chosen is 5th grade mathematics because I would like to teach a 5th grade classroom and because I really enjoy math.  So the sampler that I referenced was the 3-5 grade math which can be found at  Based on the blueprint that I looked at, I would really want to focus an assessment around the 7 key ideas that were given in the blueprint.  These would be crucial for excellence and knowledge of the material for my students and it would set them up for success on the I-STEP.  This form of assessment gives teachers a structured way to teach the class so that they do not have to pick and choose topics.  It also gives them specific feedback on what areas they need to spend more time on if there are specific focus topics.  I think that the questions are fair and reliable because they are in easy language, they give plenty of information, and cover the blueprint that I originally looked at.  I think that the questions are also designed to make a student think critically.  This can really distinguish which students know the knowledge for the long run and which students are only memorizing facts.  It can show the students that may need more 1 on 1 time.  I think that large, standardized tests would be positive because it would create equity of knowledge across all schools.  Students would all have similar expectations and would all be judged on the same scale.  This is a very good thing to have in place when it comes to assessment and education.

Bonus:  I think that in regards to motivation this course has not answered the question on how to motivate students in the classroom that may have a disability, but are still included.  This motivation is always more difficult.  I have resolved most of my questions in my special education class, but I would really like to see and hear some personal stories and examples from teachers with experience.


  1. I think that you did a really good job highlighting all the benefits of this type of assessment using the blueprint as a model. I especially liked how you brought in the critical thinking as a way to really show if students have learned or not. Often times, standardized testing gets into a lot of multiple choice and guessing, but I think that critical thinking shows true understanding. Like we learned before, recall is more difficult than recognition. The only thing I would say needs improvement is there is no opinion on the negative side effects of standardized testing. While I agree with all of your opinions on the positive effects, I think there are some downfalls. I think that certain students do not respond to formal testing well, and nerves and a certain type of environment cause them to do poorly even if they actually understand the material. Also, as a future elementary school teacher I feel basing your lessons on a standardized test puts a lot of pressure on you to only teach certain subjects, but also on the kids. When your job as a teacher is being judged on kids tests scores, there is a lot of pressure for little kids to receive "high grades" when they should be focusing on other aspects than just a grade.

    bonus: My personal experience with any type of kid is that you need to get to know them as a person before you can find the best motivating factor. I think this also applies for students with special needs. I think often times a grade doesn't mean much to young children or students with special needs, but getting to know their interests do. When you know their interests, you can tie that in to a reward or show how what they are learning relates to that.

    1. Nolan and Madi,

      I had mentioned in my earlier post to Kim and Kelsey that leveraging the strengths of all your students is especially useful. While we strive to be equitable, we should also highlight that everyone has unique characteristics. Not everyone is good at the same thing, which is definitely a healthy thing given the demands of living in a community. You can point out to students how the lack of diversity can be problematic (from a biological perspective) and at the same time highlight that we should respect these differences.

      As the authors that we have read pointed out, we need to address the issue explicitly rather than sweeping it under the rug. The teachers that I have worked with always include other students in creating a culture of acceptance. This is particularly so with topics which are difficult and uncomfortable to talk about. Specifying the norms of behavior can be a crucial way for us as teachers to promote equity.


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