In a presentation titled, “What Not to do to Prepare for the Assessments,”Common Core Work Team Member Dr. Timothy Shanahan share some provocative insights into PARCC and SBAC. Among these is his claim that test preparation likely does not work. This assertion begins at minute 12:00 and continues with his contention that practicing question types (e.g. taking practice tests) has no effect on student achievement.
At minute 31:13, Shanahan addresses the focus on test preparation materials from publishers. Again, he shares the evidence that practicing question types, without a strong emphasis on the passage itself, does not boost scores.
So what does work? Jump to minute 36:39 to hear his answer. Not surprisingly, the explanation involves having students practicing reading with rich texts. This is consistent with what’s been shared by the authors of the Common Core and even one of its detractors. Shanahan is specific in also noting that you have to build stamina with longer passages (42:50) and that this can only be accomplished if its part of the instructional cycle (47:00)