Sunday, September 2, 2012

Follow up thoughts on "Take the test when you are ready"

Wow. So many great thoughts, comments, and responses to my previous post on my first experiences with "taking the test when you are ready".  Thank you for sharing!

A few things that are already taking place... they just didn't take place last week for the "Summer Packet Exam" because it was supposed to be all a review and holding students accountable for their summer work.

1. Formative assessment - students will begin taking their concept quizzes for every concept.  They will keep track of these on their quiz packet and their WSQ chart.  The goal is that they have passed all of the quizzes (6 or higher out of 8 points) before they take the exam.  I will be able to see daily how they are doing and where they need help.

2. "Regular" flipped classroom - we will be having group discussions, group "interviews", small group pull-out teaching, actual practice in class, etc.  All of these things I had in place last year that haven't started yet will greatly help in keeping kids accountable and on track.  It will also allow me to assess them daily informally through conversations and checking their progress.

3. WSQ chart by unit being their "ticket to the test".  There are also deadlines on this chart for students to keep up with.  If students aren't meeting the deadlines, they get a warning, which is kept track of on my tracking sheet that also marks their online WSQ completion.  After that warning, they have a set amount of time to get caught up.  On that day, they will either be caught up, be given a "support card" because they haven't made enough progress, or be given one more day if they are almost caught up but not perfect yet.

A few changes I am going to implement immediately as I work through this "new way" of assessing.

1. "Action Plan" for students who are falling behind.  I made a form (which I may edit as the year goes on, but here's what I have for now) for students to fill out if they will not be taking the test on the "testing day in class".  This form will be due 1 or 2 days before that testing day (I'll have to figure that part out) and will require students to have a plan of action as to what they will be doing to prepare themselves.  On the day of the test, they must bring something with them specific that they will be reviewing or studying while their classmates are taking the test.  I will have one or two specific days when the make-up can occur outside of class time.
(I ended up doing this for the summer packet exam.  Students have to come next Tuesday and/or Wednesday to make up the four parts of the exam. No more craziness for me!)

2.  Students must finish the test in one sitting.  They must come prepared and know their stuff.  Now, there may be individual situational exceptions to this, but as a rule of thumb - one sitting, that's it.

Well, that's it for now... we'll see how it continues to go, and I will continue to share :)


  1. Sounds good. I think your students will be more confident and plan better with specific deadlines and consequences. Also, for you as a teacher, it will not be so crazy. Keep us posted! :)

  2. Having attempted this method at one point in my career, I quickly found out that it is my job to cajole, motivate, entice, whatever to get Ss to do on time and with effort. I felt that allowing them to test when they were ready meant some would never be ready and some would say they were ready and weren't. I feel like we are pushing an adult model on kids who aren't mentally or emotionally ready to make those decisions yet. I like the latest updates good luck.


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