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Old 11-06-2011, 07:28 AM
 
Location: Knoxville, TN
346 posts, read 429,067 times
Reputation: 506

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New this year to our public school district for 3rd and 7th graders is a CRA=Constructed Response Assessment as part of the NAEG. (some national education standards thing). My state's dept. of education website does not provide sample tests or questions and when I google these things most of the findings are from the teaching and evaluating perspective.

My son is not a good test taker and he absolutely hates to write. He probably has an undiagnosed learning challenge similar to dyslexia, small enough that none of his teachers in public school suggested an IEP, but big enough that some aspects of learning don't come as easily to him.

It is my understanding that this assessment is going to have open-ended questions in which he is expected to write several sentences in response. This is a complete nightmare!

We homeschool under the district so we are expected to take all the same standardized tests.

I found some prep books put together for the state of New Jersey and ordered them for practice, and my sons reading tutor is going to incorporate some test taking strategies into his weekly tutoring. What else can I do to boost his (and my) confidence? I appreciate your advice!
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:29 AM
 
Location: Knoxville, TN
346 posts, read 429,067 times
Reputation: 506
Default We only have four weeks!

I forgot to add that the home school office just sent out the notice, so we only have four weeks to prepare. It's 90 minutes of math, 90 minutes of LA and 90 minutes of science!
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Old 11-06-2011, 09:46 AM
 
15,330 posts, read 16,920,255 times
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Classroom Assessment | Constructed Response

pdfs for the reading and math portions here:

MCA Item Samplers

Good luck!
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Old 11-06-2011, 10:45 AM
 
Location: Knoxville, TN
346 posts, read 429,067 times
Reputation: 506
Quote:
Originally Posted by nana053 View Post
classroom assessment | constructed response

pdfs for the reading and math portions here:

mca item samplers

good luck!
thank you!
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Old 11-06-2011, 02:00 PM
 
Location: Knoxville, TN
346 posts, read 429,067 times
Reputation: 506
Well low and behold, my state DID put up some samplers on the website....just within the last two days!

Now I just have to deal with a husband who is tired is listening to me fret about this test.
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Old 11-06-2011, 02:15 PM
 
Location: Exeter, NH
5,204 posts, read 4,219,945 times
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If my mother was that obsessed with, and involved with, my education, I'd be afraid of taking tests too. In my day, parents were "hands off," and we did fine. I couldn't believe it when my peers started having kids and actually had to sit down every night to walk them through their homework. No wonder so many youngsters have no initiative or self-motivation, let alone ability to solve problems without being walked through them.

It's not YOU taking the test. Why should you be so stressed?

And if it helps, my spouse and I got excellent grades and advanced technical educations, and then went out into the world to find we might as well have gotten C's as A's. Our nation doesn't reward the highly intelligent and educated, it rewards the amiable (and the pathological narcissists, of course). Managers looking to hire don't like those who got better grades than they did. And businesses simply want someone who will be "fun" and "pleasant" to work with--not anyone who is smart or logical or good at taking tests. So don't try to make your son into something he isn't, when what you think is "success" is not rewarded by our culture anyway.

If your son learns how to get along with others--and that is learnable, even if the skills don't come naturally--he'll do fine.
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Old 11-07-2011, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Knoxville, TN
346 posts, read 429,067 times
Reputation: 506
Quote:
Originally Posted by NHartphotog View Post
If my mother was that obsessed with, and involved with, my education, I'd be afraid of taking tests too. ...SNIP........

It's not YOU taking the test. Why should you be so stressed?

And if it helps, my spouse and I got excellent grades and advanced technical educations, and then went out into the world to find we might as well have gotten C's as A's. Our nation doesn't reward the highly intelligent and educated, it rewards the amiable (and the pathological narcissists, of course). Managers looking to hire don't like those who got better grades than they did. And businesses simply want someone who will be "fun" and "pleasant" to work with--not anyone who is smart or logical or good at taking tests. So don't try to make your son into something he isn't, when what you think is "success" is not rewarded by our culture anyway.

If your son learns how to get along with others--and that is learnable, even if the skills don't come naturally--he'll do fine.
You gave me a good laugh! If you had bothered to read my entire post you would see that I am the teacher, therefore it is my job to prepare my student (my son). Unlike you, (and I might add you sound a bit bitter) I am not willing to give in to mainstream trends! Unlike you, I am unwilling to aim so low when it comes to the expectations I set for my children.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with setting my expectations high. I do not want to set them at mediocre, I want my children to get more out of life, to set goals, work towards them, and strive to improve.

Besides, you are incorrect and over-generalizing! I am a small business owner and I can guarantee you that I require much more than amiable employees.
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Old 11-11-2011, 11:19 PM
 
Location: St. Louis
9,485 posts, read 16,475,304 times
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OP, one thing that your son can do is to make bullet point lists. Somehow kids (and me too) find it easier to make lists of items instead of trying to plot out an essay and even if this isn't allowed on the language arts portion, it will be on the science portion. Math will probably be some word problems that have several parts so he shouldn't have to worry about writing on there.

For the LA portion, he may have to write an essay and if so, it will most likely be expected to conform to the basic 5 paragraph essay that everyone is so sick of: you know, the first paragraph tells what you're going to talk about, and it's best to make 3 points, then paragrahs 2-4 are the three points, and then the last paragraph sums up what you just talked about. Most school kids really miss the boat with this so if you help him practice he should do fine. How are his sentences? Does he write complete ones and not run-ons? I think that's the main thing they'll be looking at--that and whether it's obvious that he understands the question and answers it.
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Old 11-15-2011, 07:03 AM
 
Location: Knoxville, TN
346 posts, read 429,067 times
Reputation: 506
Quote:
Originally Posted by stepka View Post
OP, one thing that your son can do is to make bullet point lists. Somehow kids (and me too) find it easier to make lists of items instead of trying to plot out an essay and even if this isn't allowed on the language arts portion, it will be on the science portion. Math will probably be some word problems that have several parts so he shouldn't have to worry about writing on there.

For the LA portion, he may have to write an essay and if so, it will most likely be expected to conform to the basic 5 paragraph essay that everyone is so sick of: you know, the first paragraph tells what you're going to talk about, and it's best to make 3 points, then paragrahs 2-4 are the three points, and then the last paragraph sums up what you just talked about. Most school kids really miss the boat with this so if you help him practice he should do fine. How are his sentences? Does he write complete ones and not run-ons? I think that's the main thing they'll be looking at--that and whether it's obvious that he understands the question and answers it.
Thank you for the pointers. When he puts his mind to it, my son is a low to medium essay writer. He struggles with spelling and therefore really dislikes writing because the flow of his thoughts come to a complete halt while he considers how to spell a word. I found this instruction book this year that teaches clustering instead of bullet points, and he seems to be taken with it more than any other method I have tried. It is called blowing away the state writing assessment. The methods are broken down into four main points and we are on point two. Why the school district is giving assessments before the first semester is even over baffles me, but we are slowly working through the sampler and his reading tutor is going to help as well.

My son can write a decent paragraph and we are just now moving onto stringing several paragraphs together. Yesterday I told him to answer the essay question by organizing his answer into three main ideas/paragraphs, and yet he still wanted to do just one cluster. When I informed him he needed a cluster for each paragraph, you could see the disgust in his eyes! Poor kid thought he was on top of his game up till that point.

Anyway, thank you for your input.
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