Standardized Test Class

So my summer program is officially done, and while I’m going on vacation next week with my wife (it’s been two years, we desparately need one) I should be able to get back to writing with more regularity.

I have a new class next year called AIMS Math. AIMS is the standardized test in Arizona that students must pass to graduate. The class is for seniors who have not passed the AIMS yet.

So, the skills vary wildly across the board, including some special education. There’s no real set curriculum since teachers are still experimenting, so I get to plan this out on my own.

The only directive: get students to pass the test and graduate.

How we can reach that is up to me. We’ll need to review some things not normally thought of by algebra teachers — i.e. the times tables — and simultaneously we need to cover (pretty much) all of algebra and geometry in an entire semester.

I figure it will help to write my thoughts out, so I’m going to write them out here where I hope to simultaneously pick the brains of all you smart people out there.

(To those out there who think I might be going through hell in a handbasket working on a standardized test class, well, it isn’t so bad. It’s just reviewing math, really. I have no plans to grind test questions à la The Wire.)

7 Responses

  1. Are students allowed to use calculators on the test? If so, what kind (graphing or scientific)?

  2. They are not allowed to use calculators.

    This opens a gigantic can of worms as far as some of the special education students are concerned. Some have IEPs (that must be followed by law) that they can use a calculator.

    However, there is also a law regarding the test that they are not allowed to use calculators and any test where they use calculators is thrown out. (This is significant because a certain percentage from each student population must take a valid test for the school to pass AYP.)

    When two mutually exclusive laws hit things got … complicated. This probably deserves a new post.

  3. I’m looking forward to seeing your thought on this. I taught 5 periods of the 8th grade version of that class last year. This year I have one period of it still. As good as I did, I’m not sure the majority of my kids will have lasting improvement. Anything I can get from a respected perspective will help me out.

  4. Complicated sounds like an understatement. Uh, alternative assessment or don’t they qualify for that?

  5. They don’t qualify.

    There is an AIMS-A, but it is generally used for students who don’t understand the concept of a “test”.

  6. I taught a class like this to 7th graders that were “below proficient.” These kids had a normal math class as well as this “tutorial class.” I worked to make each class as entertaining as possible. I created math games that drove competition and repetition of working problems. My goal was to make it as fun as possible, but the hard part was walking the line of fun and engaging vs. fun and distracting. My group was easily sidetracked. In the end, all but 3 increased their scores. Only 4 ended up becoming “proficient.”

  7. I don’t know if this will help or not, but here is pretty much all the material I taught to my 6th grade math students last year. It is all alligned to the AZ state standards.

    Broken down by standards:
    http://williams-actionresearch.wikispaces.com/

    Broken down by chapters in our book (and downloadable):
    http://gesdmath.wikispaces.com

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