‘How and How Not to Prepare Students for the New Tests’

A popular question, since Nevada officially adopted the SBAC Test for the 2014-2015, is how to best prepare students for the coming assessments. I certainly have an opinion and have consistently noted that if you take full advantage of well-vetted resources, including the Basal Alignment Project, Close Read Exemplars, Core Knowledge, We the People curriculum, Document Based Questions, and the resources at www.63000resources and www.projecttahoe.org, you can feel confident that you are headed in the right direction. Yet, some vendors and national consultants outline a different strategy in which you diagnose skill deficits and remediate. Dr. Timothy Shanahan, the former President of the International Reading Association and work team member on the Common Core State Standards, challenges this strategy in a piece for The Reading Teacher. He writes:

Already, new test prep materials are starting to appear on the Internet, and teachers ask me all the time how they can best prepare students to respond to these new items. Many educators assume that, since these tests will be aligned to the CCSS, they will detect which standards the students are meeting: Johnny meets Reading Standard 4 but is still not getting Standard 7.

The problem is that it doesn’t work that way. It hasn’t in the past, and it won’t with these new tests, either.

Dr. Shanahan follows this claim with the research to buttress his assertion and suggestions for how best to prepare for the coming assessments. You can gain access to the full article here.

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About Aaron Grossman

I am a 5th grade teacher at Roy Gomm Elementary in Reno, Nevada. I started working with elementary students as part of the Montana Reads program and AmeriCorps. In 2001, after graduating from the University of Montana and moving to Reno, Nevada, I student taught at Rita Cannan Elementary before receiving a 6th grade position at Veterans Elementary. I moved out of the classroom to be a Literacy Coordinator, then an Instructional Coach, and finally a School Improvement Program Coordinator. In 2011, I began working on the Nevada Academic Content Standards in the district’s Curriculum & Instruction Department. I returned to the classroom for the 2015-2016 school year to teach 4th grade at Huffaker Elementary. Before returning to the classroom, I helped develop the Core Task Project that has been featured by National Public Radio, the Gates Foundation, American Radio Works, Eduwonk, the Fordham Institute, Vox, and the Center for American Progress. In 2014, I received the Leader to Learn From Award for my teacher-centered initiative and work to bring college, career, and civics ready outcomes into Northern Nevada classrooms (here). In 2015, I was appointed by Governor Sandoval serve on the Statewide RPDP Council. The same year, Nevada’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction Steve Canavero placed me on the state’s State Improvement Team. This year I will be part of the National Council on Teacher Quality’s Teacher Advisory Group. I am Google Certified Educator and a Nevada Teacher Ambassador. I believe strongly that teaching content is teaching reading and I make sure my students have ample opportunities to work with social studies, history, science and art outcomes. I do what I can to blend the learning for my students and this blog is part of that effort. You can contact me at coretaskproject@gmail.com
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