I see several of us are posting about this lately. My second graders are getting ready to take their winter round of testing hopefully tomorrow - was supposed to be today but we're out for a snow day. This is only my second year of experience with this test, which I happen to think is not at all developmentally appropriate for 2nd graders, but of course no one asked my opinion. Anyway, I wanted to ask if anyone had any secrets for success. It seems like all the teachers at my school just hope and pray their kids will show growth but don't really know how to get the students ready for this testing. Almost all of mine did show growth last year, but since the test gives them harder questions the better they do, and often those questions cover things we haven't taught yet, it's really hard to prepare them. Not to mention all the logistics of the computers. Any tips or advice?
Our school uses NWEA - we give it three times a year and we <3 it! What really helps us and the students is we make it very personal. After the fall testing and we get our reports we set goals for the students. Now, NWEA already gives a projected RIT goal for the students in Spring - but we give them a winter goal as well. We find that goal by basically dividing the number of points NWEA says they should increase in 1/2. So if a student in the fall scores a 197 and NWEA says they should be at a 210 in the spring then they should grow 13 RIT points in the year. So we take 1/2 of that which is about 7 and we add that 7 to their Fall scores to make their winter goal. So their winter goal would be a 204. All of the teachers make little goal sheets for the kids to let them know what their goals are. Basically its just a small piece of paper that has 2 columns - one that says goal and one that says score. Before testing we write each student's goal on their paper (all three - math, language, and reading) and then we give it to them and discuss what the scores mean and that they should work hard to meet their goal. Then when their done testing and their score pops up they know immediately how they did!
Something else we do at our school is we have a B.U.G.G. club which stands for Bringing Up Growth Goals. And if a student meets two (or more) of his/her goals in NWEA winter and/or spring then their in the club! We have a whole ladybug themed bulletin board in the school dedicated to it and if you get in the club you get your own lady bug with your name on it on the bulletin board. You also get an official membership card and a pencil! And of course your names are on the announcements This really gets the kids excited!!
Out of my 25 students in my class I had 21 be in the bugg club for winter testing - which means 21 of my students met at LEAST 2 of their goals - and I had about 13 of those 21 meet all three. So they really try hard.
Wonderful! I just realized I used a wrong form of the word 'their' in my paragraph.. How embarrassing!!! My brain shuts off at 3:00 when those kiddos leave.. Let me know if you have any more questions - I can try and get you some forms that we use and such if you'd like
Let me see what he says - I already put in my email that I knew suggesting the idea meant I'd probably be put in charge of it (isn't that the way it always works? ) but that I'd need helpers. I need to be sure he's going to approve it, which I'm 99% sure he will, and that I can get helpers. I'll bookmark this thread so I can come back to it. I'd definitely be interested in the forms once it's all for sure! Thanks!
I love the BUGG club idea. I might have to run this by my principal. I teach first grade and we usually see growth in every student. Right now I have 2 who didn't show growth and both are on meds. But in 1st grade the fall test can be misleading because we have to teach them all over again how to use the computer and how to drag items to baskets and how to click then release and such.
We also make it personal but the goal is just a number to my kids. During the fall test I walked around the room and wrote down concepts that they were seeing so I could set goals for myself for what I needed to be teaching. I didn't write down questions but more like calendar/missing days, abc order...
We took it in the fall (2nd grade) and the 1st time for the reading test there were TONS of "technical issues" (headphones not working/skipping etc.) so all 2nd graders in my school retook both parts. To this day I am totally confused as to why some of my students have a score from 9/3 & some from 9/10 (I would have assumed all the tests from 9/3 would be invalid!). Anyway, we are taking it right now. We finished yesterday. Where do you think a 2nd grader who is "on target" should be right now in Math & Reading? How accurate do you think it is? What happens when a student goes from 150 to 187 from fall to Winter, do you think that's really possible? Also, I was watching the math test, some of those questions were REALLY hard!
From my experience with NWEA the scores that it gives the students are almost always right on. A second grader in winter should be scoring around a 186 in math and reading and a 188 in language. It is possible for a student to go up more than 20 points. The test is really good about noticing cheating and random clicking so a student getting a very high score without receiving it is rare. Also the test is going to shoot the student really hard questions and really easy questions to determine the level.
Can I just give the tip that the NWEA data is really powerful when talking to parents? I had some students who's parents denied that the kid had any responsibility in their own achievement. As soon as I showed them their child's scores, explained the growth that was based on their score, the lack of growth compared to other students with similar scores, and the interventions I had in place, the parents were silent. It was so powerful, and straightforward, I am a firm believer in NWEA data.
I know this isn't AT ALL helpful to your question, but useful in general, I hope.
Okay, a few tips I do have:
I explained to my class that some questions will be much harder than the one before, if you get it right. I was trying to build their confidence that the harder the test, the better they were doing. Also, I told the kids that there WILL be some questions that they don't know, since school isn't over yet and I need to figure out, based on their test, what they need to learn. I explained that if they just guessed or didn't try, I might end up teaching them stuff they already knew and then they would be bored. That I need to find out what they need to learn, so their way to 'vote' for what I teach them is by doing their best on the test.
Also, the score at the end was really confusing to the kids the first few times. They'd be like, Ms. J, is 189 a good score? Did I do good? I told them that we'd write down their score and set a goal for the next time. Then, they could see their own progress. Unfortunately, there's no way, as they are taking the test, to tell how they're doing so they have to wait till the end to see how they did towards their goal.
In addition, for the younger kids, I might take them to the lab and play similar games so that they're not fascinated by dragging cats into a basket (for example). I saw a few kids who were so into the act of clicking and dragging that they dragged 20 cats into a basket when the text and audio prompt said to drag TWO MORE cats in. I would familiarize kids with number lines, visual representations, and other similar primary formats.
Good luck! Oh, and bring paper to jot down their scores on in case the reports don't generate correctly, or if you don't want to wait on your admin to process them.
Sorry to jump into this so late in the posting BUT I have some concerns about this test that maybe someone could help me with. Several students' fall scores were changed by the time the spring test was given. How can that be? Test taken, score received. Boom done deal This happened to severral students in several grades. The second thing that really upset us (bugged us sorry couldn't help myself) was that goals were changed from Fall to the end of the year. I too had sat down with students and we looked at scores and their growth goal and made a chart. I shared this with parents at meetings. Then at some point in the year, NEWA or someone, changed the growth goal. Again this happened for several students in different grades. Some students' growth goals were moved up and some were moved down. That's a little hard to explain to parents and students. It's like a moving target. Hard to hit. Another thing that concerns me and I don't hear administrators or anyone questioning this: the Common Core was put in place to ensure more depth of learning but with the NEWA students keep on moving up the RIT band which is cool BUT first graders knowing place value into ten thousands is crazy. I can't teach only regular first grade curriculum or the higher students won't make their goal. I have to try to teach everything. This makes learning and teaching more of a scattergun approach which seems the opposite of what common core intended. Our state is getting ready to go to NEWA for the end of year test instead of the state tests we have used before. Comments or answers for me please!