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Do you let kids use tools on assessments?
Old 01-27-2020, 10:39 AM
 
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I teach kindergarten and I'm torn. I feel as if they should be allowed to use tools like counting bags on tests, but at the same time, I know on the 'big' tests they wont be allowed to.

I use counting collections in my classroom. Right now we're learning addition and they've been a huge resource. The kids use them all the time when they're struggling with a worksheet and if they need help, I'll usually tell them "try it with a collection bag and if you're still not sure I'll come back" and 99% of the time the bag helps them out.

Our end of unit test is coming up and it's an awful format. Like multiple choice questions that say something like. 7 + 2 = a. 5 b. 9 c. 6 etc.

I'm not sure if I should let them use their collection bags or not. If it matters, we'll be doing the test whole group and going through it problem by problem.


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Old 01-27-2020, 12:20 PM
 
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All the kindergarten addition and subtraction curriculum standards include the words "by using objects and drawings" so our K kids have the choice to use manipulatives on tests. In first grade we do the same for any standards that allow it.

That said, we don't have any big state math tests for K-2. I guess I'd feel it necessary to have the kids try without manips. I think you have a good case to argue the test (without counting objects) doesn't comply with the standards.
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I'm not sure what you mean by
Old 01-27-2020, 03:55 PM
 
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"big" tests. Are there state tests in Kindergarten? In first grade? Or are you looking ahead to third grade testing. Frankly, I would think that using manipulatives in exactly the same way they've been trained to use manipulatives in the teaching process would be perfectly fair and probably developmentally appropriate as well. OTOH, taking away a tool they've been using all along seems unfair.
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Old 01-27-2020, 04:30 PM
 
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Have you taught your K students how to draw pictures or use tally marks?
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Old 01-27-2020, 06:32 PM
 
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Absolutely. Math is still concrete, and like jov said the standards state using manipulatives, drawings, or equations. I let my kids use anything like that to help them, except when we are testing fast facts at the end of the year because that is the one thing that should be pure memorization.


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For 'big' tests
Old 01-27-2020, 07:07 PM
 
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I'm referring to MAP testing, which we just did and will do again in April. That's the only state test we do in kinder, but a lot of the math on that test is either counting with pictures OR it will just give an equation like 5+3 so I want to make sure that they also know how to do just straight equations.

Thank you for all your responses! I think I'll have them continue to sue their counting collections and use them on the assessment, but also give them opportunities in the next few months to practice addition without the tools.
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Old 01-27-2020, 07:41 PM
 
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When I taught kinder I taught in a state with no standardized tests for k-2 and district benchmarks allowed counters so for me I'd say let them use counters while also having them draw a picture of their counters on 1/4 trials and have them explain how they used the counters. That way they will get both manipulate-able objects for those that need to touch, push and maneuver 3d objects to make connects and practice on using and understand pictorial representations so they dont fall apart on tests when they are used to relying on a method and then are later denied access to that method. Yikes the anxiety from that alone would potentially mess with their data.

When I teach now-even in the upper grades we use manipulatives first before moving to pictorials and then finally numerical computation. Most kids need to follow that sequence as pictorials are less concrete and therefore more difficult to use with mastery conceptually. They wont have base ten blocks or fraction tiles on the state test but they still needed the time with them (and a lot of it) to help them master the concept and certainly before I could expect them to look at diagrams and pictorials on the test, or yikes even harder, to create their own diagrams and pictorials for problem solving on their computer or scratch paper while taking the test so the time spent is still super valid.
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practice on the test format
Old 01-28-2020, 01:59 PM
 
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the a)5 b)6 c)7 would be very helpful for your students before they have to figure out what that format means during a test.

I did guided and whole class practice with that format well before they were faced with those kinds of questions. Then we did some individual work sheets with that format as part of regular work. You don't have to create a lot of problems for them to solve if you have to make the sheets yourself, but it certainly helps.

Since students will be facing testing throughout their school careers, it seems as important to help them with test taking strategies as it is to help them master curriculum.

With my first graders, I had them shake their heads and think "That's silly" with outlier distractors on multiple choice tests and "hmmm, maybe" and look closer with more realistic distractors. I told them the people who write this test are trying to trick you into the wrong answer. Don't let them. Making it a game-like contest with test makers seemed to help their attitude toward the testing.

My goal was always: the children will not stress or cry when taking these tests.

Preparing them for the test formats, providing some strategies, and keeping my own attitude light seemed to help all around.

Here's some test prep articles, there may be something in here that will resonate for your students:
http://www.nea.org/tools/lessons/Tes...rades-K-5.html
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