Understanding how and when your students will be tested is essential. Before you plan anything for this school year, head to your state's assessment website and start digging around. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you find.
To begin your quest for testing information, simply search the name of your state and the word "assessment." (If your state is a part of PARRC, you can start your search here.)
Let's take a look at my search. With one click, I discovered a gold mine of information!
ELA and Math Blueprints list what will be tested:
Item Samplers provide sample questions:
Test dates are also posted. I see that my students will take the Applied Skills (requiring constructed responses) between March 2nd and March 11th. Then they will take the Multiple Choice portion of the test between April 27th and May 6th.
Taking a little bit of time to search assessment sites arms me with important information:
- Knowing what will be tested guides content selection.
- Knowing types and format of assessment questions provides instructional focus.
- Knowing when students will be tested drives yearlong planning.
Yes, teaching is now driven by academic standards and standardized testing. Like it or not, to succeed in today's classroom, we need to begin annual planning with information about what our students need to know and do.