Saturday, July 16, 2016

Testing 101

I had the opportunity to be included in a workshop that analyzed the elementary End of the Course exams or E.O.C.'s. I was thrilled to be able to see the inner workings of this test. Last year my principal insisted that the team of specialists give the test even tho it wouldn't count, he wanted a base line. 5 out of 6 grade levels were in the green. Fourth grade was in the yellow. Here is my blog post from last year: E.O.C. Survivor. The art exams had the best overall scores. PE's weak link was that the older students needed to know about pool safety and since we don't have a pool the coaches never did any lessons on that topic. The test results for Music were very low and made our Music teacher seriously upset. We did not know until this year's results that the music test results were low throughout the district and had nothing to do with the teacher as much as it had to do with the test.

But because the Music test results were low and this year I became team leader we agreed to write tests for a mid year assessment.  Having no training in this, and no real knowledge on how to use the computer program to enter the test into, WAS crazy. I don't think any of us were happy with the scores from those tests.

And then I went out on medical leave........... So I was really concerned with how my students would do on the E.O.C.'s. 5 out of 6 grade levels were in the green. Fourth grade was in the yellow. Just like last year....... How is that possible when last year's 3rd graders passed and now that they are 4th graders they didn't do well? And last year's 4th graders who are now 5th graders were in the green???

Well, that is one reason there was a workshop to analyze the tests! And LEARNING what I did over the 2 days I sat with other elementary art teachers was incredible!

Okay, I signed a confidential agreement so I can't get into the questions on the exam, however I got  permission to share with you slides from the training that I had. Thank you Amanda!!

When you write a question with multiple choice answers the distractor is the answer that seems like it could be correct. Not necessarily the right answer but close enough to ring a bell in your head like you heard it before. More about this after few more slides.

 In other words in a multiple choice question, what was the break down of answers? Was there one answer that NO ONE picked??

Armed with this information we went though every question and the breakdown of all the answers.  We did our best to clarify the questions, adjust some answers and change out some photos. Hopefully next year's results will show some improvements. I thought what I learned during those two days was pretty amazing stuff! ALL useful for writing tests in the future. And along with the slide below I should "Master" this in no time!

How do you go about writing a test for the classes you teach? And while I would like to debate the logic for testing elementary students in art (there is none), it would be pointless, as it is here to stay.

Anyway......... Thanks for reading!!!!

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