Today we arrive at the end of our mythology reading unit and it is time for the students to demonstrate their understanding of this literary genre. The myth for the assessment is “Io” from Comprehension Homework Packets (Scholastic Teaching Resources, 2007).
One thing sixth graders benefit from is a guided walk through of the assessment. Otherwise they dive right in assuming they know what to do. Another reason this occurs is concern about having time to finish, which causes them to rush. Not unexpectedly, once they are seated the first question is “What if I don’t finish this period?” Luckily, I’m ready for it. This is a lengthy test so it is scheduled on a day when we have an extra period just for such a purpose. An alternate option is to give the comprehension section one day and the common characteristics portion another. I pass out the test packet and review the directions for each section by underlining important words and phrases. As a reminder, we add a note to the first page to mark up the text by highlighting the common characteristics. It is extremely important to read the rubric so everyone is clear on grading expectations. However, I only read the ‘4’ column because that is what we are all reaching for.
Before releasing them to get started, I am sure to address all of the students questions. Writing down a specific set of instructions on the board can be helpful in reducing the number of times you are asked the same question. “Don't raise your hand or come to see me until you have read the board!”
An answer key for the comprehension questions is available here, a key for the common characteristics of myths chart is found here and one for with the common characteristics highlighted in the text is here.
Of course, passing back the tests and reviewing the results does not happen on the same day, but takes place at the beginning of a class a few days later. Overall, everyone did quite well and it is gratifying to see many students earn top scores. Some thoughts on how and why that happened are discussed in the following video. It also identifies some the problem areas and skills that require practice. Two examples of student work appear here and here for you to examine.