Sunday, September 05, 2010

School has Started

Last week marked the start of the 2010-2011 school year. The thick hot air caused by the high temperatures and humidy made the start a bit of a challenge--well, I hope that is the cause of the low pre-assessment scores.
We began our string of pre-assessments with the CAPT's Reading for Information section. In my 10th Grade (Pre-College) classes, the scoring breakdown went as follows:

[Below Basic]--11

My intial response was one of despair. But the reality is that we haven't done a great job of teaching non-fiction reading skills during freshmen year. We spend a good amount of time the Response to Literature section, and so I expect those scores to reflect those efforts. Additionally, the CAPT is 10th grade test, so expecting my studetns to already earn proficiency at high rates might be a bit over-zealous!
The greatest issue, on first glance, is that our students have yet to understand the importance of using textual evidence in their constructed responses. They made broad statements, which were accurate, but failed to demonstrate their full understanding. For the 11"basic" students, had they provided textual evidence, they would have easily moved into profiency or goal.
Now I have to figure out the best way to balance my instruction between the fiction and non-fiction in a way that shows how closely connected the two genres can be.


At 10:20 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

So will these students be tested again? or are you planning what to do with 9th graders to prepare them for October sophomore year?

For those getting ready for CAPT, do you have similar style assessments or assignments to teach for improvement?

At 11:00 AM , Blogger Mr. McNamar said...

Yes the students will receive another CAPT assessment at the end of the first marking period and again at the end of the second marking period. They will then get some smaller practice assessments leading up to the CAPT in March.
We will be working more with non-fiction between now and the next assessment.
I am not closely involved with the 9th grade curriculum; however, I will certainly be sharing my findings through our data team process.

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At 6:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. McNamar, the task that lies ahead is not an easy one. It is unfortunate, but the reality is, that most of your students who are below basic are probably at a 7th or 8th grade level. I'm sure you that you are looking for ways to challenge your students to think critically...But just wondering, have you or any of your colleagues considered using middle school reading books to help students understand the importance of textual evidence? -- CG

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