Testing - Standardized and Otherwise - and the Massachusetts ABE Pilot Test: A Curriculum Unit for ABE Classes
From the introduction:
We hope that this curriculum will help you and your students understand the reasons behind the upcoming pilot testing of the ABE tests for reading and math, to prepare for and take the pilot test (and other standardized tests), and give important feedback during the pilot testing process. But we also see this curriculum and the pilot testing process as opportunities to help students explore testing and their experiences with it, and develop and refine strategies and life skills they can use in many situations.
Each lesson in the unit is designed to accomplish specific objectives that will help you and your students answer these questions:
- Why are students being tested? What is the purpose of tests (in general)? And what is the purpose of standardized testing? What are some pros of standardized testing? What are some cons?
- How can we empower students in the test-taking process? What test-taking and test-preparation strategies can we help students develop?
- How can we introduce the computer tutorial in a meaningful way?
- What is the role of pilot testing? How does pilot testing help develop a fair and consistent test?
- How can we collect feedback on the pilot test from teachers and students?
This is a very valuable resource for two reasons:
It provides very solid information about standardized assessment that all teachers should be knowledgeable about.
It provides very solid information about standardized assessment that all students - many who are parents with children in schools who also take tests - should also be familiar with.
The resource is based on solid research about standardized assessment. It is well developed with many helpful activities ready for teachers to use. There is a lot of good information that classes not involved in the MA ABE pilot could use.
This curriculum is just chock full of valuable and useful materials. And while its focus is narrow - test-taking preparation for students in the particular context of an impending pilot test administration - much of what is here could be useful beyond that context. I think teachers will welcome an approach to helping students feel more informed, empowered and ready when faced with testing. And while the author seems to send something of a mixed message about this intent, teachers may also find here a lot of strategies for teaching basic skills in a way that engages students in learning through meaningful reflection and collaboration.