Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Week 12

I plan on teaching 2nd grade, but 3rd grade was the next available grade. I chose the English/Language Arts blueprint for 3rd grade. The blue print specifically that I chose was the Reading Comprehension where students are meant to analyze story elements in a story. The purpose of my exam would be to simply analyze the story elements in a book we have read. To get them prepared, we will have studied elements of a story with other books. The test, however, will be about a book we have read, but not discussed. The test would begin with a short multiple choice section to test the student's comprehension of the story. These questions will ask mostly things like why did something happen or where someone was when something happened. This part should be pretty easy if the student paid attention to the story. The test would go on to fill out a story mountain (shown below)

This will test the student on analysis of story elements like background, setting, etc and climax, resolution. The test would go on to ask for an analysis of the main characters described in the book. The plot, theme, and narrative tone would be asked about in an essay format as well. I think the questions are fair and reliable because as long as the students paid attention to the story and class discussion, they would understand the story and know the questions. These questions would impact a student's performance by intrinsically motivate them to do well in order to do well in the future. Statewide and national exams would impact students  also by motivation because students would want to do the very best they can because their score would be riding on whether or not they get in the college they want. 

Extra credit:

How can a teacher completely factor out inequity? It seems to me that any type of special attention could be seen as inequity, like staying after with a student to give them extra help. I have spoken to a few teachers and they have said that it just depends on who is judging you on that fact. Anyone can have an opinion about anything. If a parent think you are showing favoritism or inequity, then speak with them and make sure to ask them how they think you should change and try to do that (within reason). This can be applied to principals, faculty peers, and other students.


  1. Kelsey,

    I like your ideas on how to assess 3rd grade students on reading comprehension. I think that using a story mountain (along with the picture of it) is a great idea because it gives a visual to each part of the story. Do you think that adding some open-ended questions that involve opinions would help the students better understand the meanings of events in the story and how they relate to each other? Although structural questions are important to ask on assessments, I believe that it is also important to include the three other types of questions: analytical, syntopical, and evaluative. While I understand that these students are in 3rd grade, there are ways to construct questions at that age-level appropriate but still have all 4 types of questions present on the assessment.

    When reading your post, I was also a little bit confused about how statewide/national exams and getting into college relates to your 3rd graders and their reading/language arts assessments. Were you saying that the assessments in 3rd grade will prepare them for exams later on in life?

    Extra Credit:

    I think this is a very difficult question to give a definitive answer to. When dealing with peoples' children, teachers have to be very sensitive to the issues parents raise. It is important to make sure that it does not appear that the teacher has a favorite in the class or is more willing to help one student over another. Therefore, if a teacher offers to stay after school to help a child understand a concept when they are struggling, this offer should stand with every student in the class. I agree with the responses the teachers you have talked to have given you with an exception of one thing. I do not think that it is appropriate for the teacher to ask the parent for advice on how to neutralize the classroom. I think that if a teacher feels that they are struggling with this, they could look to their peers (other teachers) or the principal for some suggestions. I believe this would be a more professional approach to the subject.

  2. Kelsey and Kim,

    You both point out a very pertinent issue with equity. Kim's suggestion that any offer of help should be extended to the whole classroom is crucial since it not only demonstrates that everyone has an opportunity to improve their work, it is also another opportunity for the teacher to encourage students to help one another as well.

    Additionally, given our imperfect world, it may be difficult to factor out inequity. An important aspect of being a teacher is being aware of your own assumptions and biases, as well as your strengths and weaknesses.

    As teachers, we should definitely learn more about our students. As Gay mentioned in her article, we need to know cultural characteristics and the positives that each culture bring. The same goes for all students of different abilities. A student with a particular learning ability for instance may have excellent studying habits. This is due to their metacognitive awareness of their own abilities. Thus, our role as teachers is to leverage students' abilities and try to discover this for each student. This is definitely a challenge and teachers should strive to achieve this if possible.


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