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 have 20 minutes to complete items 1 and 2 on the Geometry Foundations Summative Practice Part 2 resource. Students have seen this kind of problem before so I don't spend too much time introducing the task.
So I tell them that they have 20 minutes, and to read and follow all directions carefully. I remind them that they will be scored on the accuracy of their work but also on how they show their process.
Finally, I put the start and end time on the board, and away we go.
When the 20 minutes have expired, I show the problems step by step on the document camera so that students know right away how they did, where they might have gone wrong, etc.
I particularly emphasize using explicit labels when showing work, e.g., AB=(4-3)^2...
or Perimeter of triangle ABC = 12 + 15 + 14, as opposed to just writing numbers and random calculations.
Finally, I model how to write a final answer in a complete sentence that addresses the prompt. I emphasize restating the question within the answer, giving a valid reason for the answer, and being concise.
In this section, students will have 25 minutes to complete the Geometry Foundations Summative Practice Part 3 resource. They will need a ruler and calculator for the task.
I explain to students that they will be making actual size figures so they will need to attend to precision. I also let them know that there may be multiple correct answers to a particular prompt. Finally I let them know that they have roughly four minutes per problem, and to be aware of the time.
Next, I put the time parameters on the board and students get started. During the 25 minutes, I am walking around goading students when necessary. Other than that, I'm just maintaining the testing environment.
When the time has elapsed, I ask students to put their pencils and pens away. Then I start to call students up to the document camera to display their work. My reason for doing this is that, unlike other portions of the test, there are multiple correct answers to this portion of the test, and students benefit from seeing a variety of answers and approaches. When students come up to the doc cam, I ask them to show their final product, show how they verified that it meets the specifications, and explain how they came up with the dimensions in the first place. Once one student finishes, I ask if there is anyone who did it a different way and would like to share.
With the allotted time, I can afford to have 2-3 students per item come up and share their work provided that I help them to keep the explanations concise and keep the ball rolling. Some of the things I emphasize during the presentations is labeling of diagrams, using correct units, and showing work clearly.