This year for the first time, consideration of the Keystone Exams and its results were added to our school’s discussion of standardized tests. When we received test scores for the testing completed throughout April and May, a lot of information was revealed about student performance.
This year, teachers were given time during the week of professional development, scheduled the week before the start of school, to really consider what they can do to help improve test scores. Teachers were broken into groups by grade level and tasked with identifying patterns or reasons for the test results. Then, they systematically thought about the things that can be done to help make a difference in student learning. Areas in which students performed the worst, along with areas in which students scored proficient and above proficient were analyzed. It is very easy for teachers to concentrate efforts more so on areas of weakness. But, students also need continued efforts on areas of strength, so they do not lose those skills over time.
Here are some of the key factors teachers noted that can improve this year’s learning objectives:
1.) Pay more attention to vocabulary! The Keystone Exam incorporated a lot of vocabulary. Teachers hope to spend more time focused on building stronger vocabulary with students across a variety of content areas this year.
2.) More face time with students! Our time together may be virtual, but many teachers feel confident that the more time they have to work with students, the better they are able to grasp concepts. Our Live Class schedule has been enhanced with more direct instruction, work sessions, and test prep sessions. Building attendance for these sessions will continue to assist students. So, in talking with your children, encourage them to pop into our sessions when they can!
3.) Get more writing practice! Teachers have recognized that because our current Classroom Diagnostic Tool does not offer open response practice for students, they need to incorporate more open-response practice into lessons throughout the school year. Teachers are excited to bring new sorts of assignments into their classes that meet the needs of students.
Good luck on your studies this year! You’re all off to a great start!