Saturday , 24 February 2018
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Test-Taking Know How…Do your kids have it?

image-test-taking-answer-sheetThere’s a lot to be said about being prepared for taking a test.  One major part of test preparation is content knowledge.  If students have a deep understanding of the content, we might assume they would do well on an assessment.  Although this seems logical, it is not always true.

Sometimes, the way a question is worded or the vocabulary found in the question stem or the foils (answers) can trip students up.  Teachers work hard to teach their Tier 3 vocabulary – vocabulary that is specific to their content, but sometimes, Tier 2 vocabulary isn’t explicitly taught, and these words are often the key to deciphering questions.  (Check out this quick overview to vocabulary tiers.)

One way we can work with students to ensure they are prepared for test taking is to use the North Carolina Released Items for EOCs, EOGs, and NCFEs.  Teachers can use these items in several ways.  First, they can use these items for a content check to ensure students understand the content standards.  However, and maybe even more importantly, teachers can gauge how students fare with the reading perseverance, Tier 2 vocabulary, question wording, etc.

Take time to review the released forms in your grade level and content area and use these items as bell ringers, vocabulary overviews, or in explicit instruction.  If you are looking for ideas about how to incorporate released items into your instruction, touch base with your administrator or instructional coach.

EOC/EOG Released Forms

NCFE Released Forms

About Heather Mullins

Dr. Heather Mullins is the Chief Academic Officer in Newton-Conover City Schools. She is a North Carolina Teaching Fellow who spent 12 years as a high school English Teacher. She received her B.S.Ed. in Secondary English Education from Western Carolina University. Heather completed her National Board Certification in Adolescent Young Adult English Language Arts in 2002. She holds an M.Ed. in Academically and Intellectually Gifted from UNC-Charlotte. She completed her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership through Western Carolina University. Her dissertation focused on improving principal practice through strategic professional development. Heather has served as a Curriculum Specialist in Hickory City Schools, an adjunct professor at Lenoir-Rhyne University, and a Professional Development Consultant for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Heather is one of the co-founders of #NCed Chat, North Carolina’s first Twitter chat for teachers. She is passionate about innovative practices, instructional technology, student ownership of learning, and supporting teachers. Heather serves on the advisory board for the North Carolina Digital Learning Plan, North Carolina School for the Deaf and Catawba Science Center. She is a recipient of the 2015 NCMLE Central Office Administrator to Watch Award. She also received the 2016 Don Chalker Award for Excellence in Educational Leadership. Heather is the proud mother of one son, Jackson.

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