To set the stage, I explain to students that we will be taking the summative assessment soon. I explain that much of the poor performance on tests can be attributed to lack of experience performing under the pressurized conditions of a high stakes summative assessment. So I ask them to take a serious approach to this practice session- to treat it as if were actually the real test.
I explain that we will be breaking the test into manageable chunks so that we can build in time to reflect and make improvements along the way.
Most important, though, I let students know that I need them to snap into test mode, and push themselves beyond their comfort zones so that they can see clearly where their areas for improvement are. That's the message I try to get across as I set the stage.
In terms of management, before the session, I have organized sections of items that are alike either in content or cognitive demand. For each of these sections, I create time parameters, enforce strict testing protocols (no talking, alternate seating chart, all materials put away in backpacks away from the desk, no electronics, etc.), and then reflect when time has expired.
Because I want the students to be aware of time constraints, I play up the time factor by writing start and end time for each section on the board. Additionally, I project an electronic timer onto the projector screen so that students can literally see time ticking away.
When time has expired, I go over the correct answers in very direct manner. Because time is precious at this point, I do not spend it asking for student volunteers or engaging in interactive discussion. My goal is to get the information out as quickly as possible so that students have immediate feedback.
In the following narratives, I explain more specifically how I manage each section of the lesson.
In this section students will be working on items 1-14 from the Geometry Foundations Summative Practice Part 1 resource. Students should be very familiar with this mode of assessment by now. The goal now is for them to complete the items quickly, while attending to precision(MP6). By attending to precision, I mean reading and interpreting directions correctly, using tick marks, arc marks, arrows, capitals, lower case, and script as they are supposed to be used.
I explain to students that there will be seven minutes on the clock for them to complete items 1-14. That works out to 30 seconds per problem...which is a lot of time if used correctly. I tell them that they should have time to return to each item and check to be sure that they have used all proper symbols and notation.
Ok, I tell them, get into your own zone and focus on the task at hand.
After the 7 minutes have expired, I instruct students to stop working. This is an important piece. Some students may not have finished. Up until now, these students have most likely felt that they knew how to do this stuff. What they haven't realized is that they need to know it well enough to do it almost autonomously. Not allowing them to continue working, and having them realize that during the real test they would have gotten zeros for all of the items they didn't complete forces them to grapple with the idea that maybe they need to push a little harder during every day classroom practice situations.
Next I show myself completing items 1-14 on the document camera as I do some concise, clear, think-aloud. I'm careful to call attention to the essential elements of a correct response. For example, I might say, "In item 12, you had to have an obtuse angle with sides and vertex correctly labeled, and you had to indicate that the ray created congruent angles by placing an arc on each angle."
It is important for me to be able to finish my review of the correct answers in 7 minutes or less. The message to students is that if I can review the correct answers for the whole class, while explaining what I'm doing, in less than 7 minutes, then they can definitely complete the items correctly in the allotted time if they know the material the way they need to.
In this section, students will be completing problems 15-22 on the Geometry Foundations Summative Practice Part 1 resource. I let them know that they will have 15 minutes to do 8 problems, showing all of their work. On average, that's less than two minutes per problem. However, some of the problems are very straightforward and should be completed in less than one minute. It is important to do these problems quickly (and accurately) in order to bank time for the problems that require more critical thinking. Message: No time for lollygagging or la la land.
I allow students to use calculators on this portion of the test, so I pass out the calculators. I put 15 minutes on the clock, remind students to show their work (even if they use a calculator), and check their answers for reasonableness and accuracy. Also include units where appropriate.
When time has expired, I show myself correctly solving the problems on the document camera in a very direct, concise manner, no-nonsense manner. This is summative feedback on things students should already know. So the tone is different than it would be earlier in the unit.
Again, I put the timer on while I'm modeling the correct solutions so that students can develop a new awareness of how much work can be done in 15 minutes with the proper amount of focus and concentration.
Another thing I emphasize is the subjectivity that comes into grading with regard to how students show their work. I try to model a neat, organized, communicative showing of my work process and I give students my opinion that when a teacher can easily follow the work that has been shown, and they see a student's effort to be organized and neat, they subconsciously (or maybe consciously) look more favorably on the work when considering scores.
In this section students will have 15 minutes to complete items 23-26 on the Geometry Foundations Summative Practice Part 1 resource. I allow them to use the Transformation Functions Reference Sheet. At this point, I don't see much value in having student memorize all of the rules for transformation. I'm more concerned that they can interpret and apply them.
So I hand out the Reference Sheet, put 15 minutes on the clock and say Go.
After 15 minutes have expired, I model the correct solutions. I emphasize showing the work process clearly. For example if it is a 90 degree counterclockwise rotation about the origin, I show: "(x,y)-->(-y,x) so (3,-4)-->(4,3), (-5,2)-->(-2,-5)" and so forth.