Monday, October 14, 2013

When tests and retests don't work....

 At my school, we operate on a mastery based system. AKA, the kids have to get an A to pass. Well, obviously that doesn't always happen at the first go so we offer remediation activities in order to allow for the kids to show/prove their mastery. After doing a series of remediation activities, the kids qualify for a retest. I'd say 80% of the time, this works. Of course, I have the kids who aren't successful.

What do you do with those kids?

These are the kids who struggle on tests. These are the kids who just need a little extra guidance to get through. These are the kids who no matter how many times they practice, just can't apply what they know. These are the kids who are left in the middle of the road wondering, what now?

Well, here's my answer.

My answer is actually more of a question, a question that I pose to the child. It goes a little something like this, "Well, clearly tests don't work, so what works for you? How could you prove to me and show me that you have mastered the content?" Now obviously, you'll get an odd look staring back at you saying, what do you mean? I mean literally what I said, tests don't work for you and no matter what I give you, it's not working. Now, this can be hard for the child to hear but here's where the fun comes in and the differentiation is through the roof.

An illustrative book to show me a child understood The Fundamental Counting Principle

Another child spent 40 minutes making instructional videos explaining how to do questions thoroughly. Yes 40 minutes talking about math and it was documented.

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