Sunday, July 14, 2013

WBT Book Club Chapter 16: Improving State Test Scores with the Super Improvers Team

As an educator, I am always looking for ways to improve my standardized test scores. I found several strengths in Chapter 16 that I can use with my history students. Practice is key! Students need daily practice questions, and this chapter outlined a way to help students practice the most basic to more complex strategies as the year progresses. The strategies are connected to the Super Improvers Team, which is definitely a strength. Stars can and should be awarded to students for getting questions correct and for proving their work. This is, most certainly, a plus in my book because I am always looking for opportunities to award stars. WBT test taking strategies are focused around the ‘fun factor.’ Just saying the words, “Doofus, Trickster, and Smarty” make learning fun. Finally, these strategies are specific and visible. Prove It, double underlining, and labeling provide detailed directions and expectations to students and a quick way for the teacher to assess student comprehension. On the flip side, I am concerned my middle school students will get bored with the Prove It strategy. My middle school and its feeder schools implemented a similar version of Prove It years ago. I know students as young as second grade using this strategy. I fear my students will become bored by the repetition. Plus, if my whole team uses these strategies, will students become uninterested because of frequent exposure? Hmmm? This is definitely a concern and a possible weakness. I did enjoy the chapter and definitely plan on putting ‘Doofus, Trickster, and Smarty’ into daily student practice.

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