Friday, June 13, 2014

Last of the PATs

Our province does standardized testing, however, they are phasing out the current testing practices. This is the last year for Gr. 3 PATs. We have written the first PAT, which focuses on creative writing. The majority of our writing program focuses on teaching students how to write a good story. We teach them a formula, and it works really well. While I think it has been to have such a laser sharp focus, it will be nice to have a little more opportunity to expand into other types of writing. I am not totally convinced that teaching children to write narrative stories is the most important writing they can do.

Today we did the second language arts PAT: comprehension. I hoped it would be more of a breeze for my students. It was quite a challenge though. I think there is a real skill in creating a multiple choice test that really gives good information about where students weaknesses are. The test we did today was a good one, I would say. It really got me thinking about what I can do to help students' comprehension improve. There is no simple formula.

Next year, we will be doing assessments in the beginning of the year. This change is focused on identifying where student's are at early on so that we can tailor our teaching to their strengths and weaknesses. In theory, it is a great idea. I hope it ends up being as successful as the sales pitch would have us believe.

One thing is for sure, next year I plan to do more read alouds, try to meet more reading needs through 
Book Club, and definitely be very purposeful in working to improve students' reading.

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