I was watching the news (CNN) this morning when I heard the anchor use the metaphor “Sticky wicket” in a sentence. I was very surprised, I have not heard that metaphor used in many years. What does the metaphor mean to you, especially in the context in which she used it and the general meaning? Listen to the audio below and leave your response. Do not Google it, that would be cheating. I’ll give you a hint, look at the image above.
Georgia’s test contractor, CTB-McGraw Hill, has offered the state of Georgia and Georgia taxpayers $4.5 million in compensatory services valued at that amount. This follows calls by various people across the state for a refund due to the botched roll-out of Georgia’s newest assessment tool, the Georgia Milestones assessment, this past spring. This information was just put out to the public in a newsletter by the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE).
The GDOE stated, “– CTB/McGraw-Hill will provide $4.5 million in services at no cost to the Georgia Department of Education, following content errors and disruptions during 2015 Georgia Milestones testing, ” State School Superintendent Richard Woods announced today. Those services include safeguards to ensure future administrations of the test take place with no similar issues.”
Under the terms of the compensation, CTB McGraw Hill will provide:
“$2.64 million to create and implement end-of-course assessments serving the new traditional/discrete math course options – meaning those tests will be developed at no expense to Georgia taxpayers.
· Up to $120, 000 for an in-state program manager to serve as a point of contact for the GaDOE for one year, helping to coordinate, organize and prioritize tasks requiring GaDOE review and input.
· Up to $60, 000 toward an independent analysis of the problems that took place in 2015-16.
· Over $1.6 million in additional services.”
Outlining the issues faced during the testing, Georgia DOE stated that during the fall assessments some of the schools “experienced periodic connection issues.” Outlining the reasons behind such disruptions, the Geogia DOE stated that they were a result of “lengthy delays in the test administration system’s ability to sync student information across databases.” Additionally, further disruptions were due to “instances of the test “freezing” or taking prolonged periods of time to load the next test question.” “Freezing” was most common “on April 21 and 22, as more schools across the state began to test.” Also, many students who were “granted an accommodation of using a screen reader to read test questions experienced more delays and interruptions than other students, due to an insufficient number of testing vendor servers to handle the number of screen readers used.” As a result of all of the interruptions, on April 21 and 22, the GaDOE “suspended testing for the impacted students.”
With this interruption, Georgia has joined the company of other states who hired CTB McGraw Hill and have had issues with test administration. Some states even fired McGraw Hill altogether.
Here is a video that you can show your students, so that they may get a glimpse into the world of the software that they will be using for the Georgia Milestones Assessment.
The Georgia Department of Education has just released End of Grade (EOG) study guides for the 2014-2015 Georgia Milestones Assessment. The Georgia Milestones is the assessment that replaced CRCT’s for Georgia’s public school students. The EOG assessments are just around the corner. So, as you keep warm through the winter months, with the expectation of Spring, rest assured that assessments are around the corner as well. Additionally, if you want to get more information about the breakdown of the tests, content weights, you can get more information from the post that I wrote about the other resources that students can utilize as they prepare for the Georgia Milestones.
According to the Georgia Department of Euducation:
These Assessment Guides are provided to acquaint Georgia educators and other stakeholders with the structure and content assessed on the End of Grade (EOG) measures. These guides are not intended to substitute for the state-adopted content standards. The guides are a supplemental resource and are provided to complement, not replace, other instructional resources developed by the local school district or the example resources provided by the Curriculum and Instruction Division of the Georgia Department of Education. In principle, the EOG Assessment Guides are intended to be descriptive of the assessment program and should not be considered all-inclusive.
Georgia has abandoned the framework of the Georgia Criterion Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT’s). One of the reasons for the apparent shift is to move away from strictly multiple choice based tests. Here are a few sites to prepare for the Georgia Milestones Assessment for end of year and end of course tests.
There are a few things to take into consideration as you prepare for the Georgia Milestones Assessment:
1- Test Blueprints
Use the current test blueprints as a way to prepare your students for what they will face—especially since this is the fist time they will be taking such a high stakes test at this level.
1a- Georgia Milestones Practice Tests-Assessment Guides (2014-2015)
High School Assessment Guides
Ninth Grade Literature and Composition EOC Assessment Guide
American Literature and Composition EOC Assessment Guide
Coordinate Algebra EOC Assessment Guide
Analytic Geometry EOC Assessment Guide
Physical Science EOC Assessment Guide
Biology EOC Assessment Guide
US History EOC Assessment Guide
Economics EOC Assessment Guide
2- Use CRCT Study Guides
The tests will be different, however, the content will not change, as of yet. Therefore, I would suggest that you use materials already out there. Use the CRCT study guides below:
3- Use What Other States Are Using
- Arizona Practice Tests(3-12)
- Conneticut: K-12
- District of Columbia (DC): 3-12
- Florida: Training Tests(3-12): Electronic | Paper-pencil
Kentucky Department of Education (k-12): K-8 || High School Materials
- Louisiana : K-12
- Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System 2016, (2013-2018)
- Mississippi: 3-8
- New York: 3-8
- North Carolina: 3-8 || 9-12
- Ohio Released Tests(3-12)
- Washington: K-12
- Wisconsin: 3-10
4. Use What Major Assessment Publishers Offer
What information are the major testing companies/publishers providing?
Pearson: PARCC (k-12): There are sample questions for grades 3-12. Just select the content, ELA/math, then your grade level and you are on your way.
CTB/McGraw Hill (k-12): This is a great resource to practice to practice for the Georgia Milestones. This is the same company that will be administering the Georgia Milestones at the end of the year (2015). This page no longer works. Find out why by reading my post here.
Smarter Balanced Consortium (k-12): This is a great resource. This is not really a publisher per se, but a consortium of states and territories that are working together to create assessments that they all share. The site is free to use, no log in required–great practice for students. This is very similar to the Florida Training Tests and the PARCC.
Did I miss an awesome resource that you think should be added? This post may be updated to include additional resources to prepare for the Georgia Milestones Assessment for classroom teachers and for parents who are homeschooling.
Study Island is a comprehension, online learning tool that allows students to master the Common Core Curriculum and more, through supplemental practice and assessment measures. Study Island is available for math, science, social studies, reading and language arts. Study Island allows teachers to assign activities and quizzes to students. Students will earn ribbons, which acts as an additional motivator for students.
Wide Range of Subjects
Study Island Provides a wide range of subjects for some grade-levels. For example, online learning for math, reading, science and social studies are available for third, fourth and fifth grade students in Georgia to help them get ready for the Georgia Milestones Assessments; formerly the CRCT’s.
Teachers and administrators are able to keep track of the skills that have been attempted or covered by students. This allows accurate decisions to be made regarding student performance.
Teachers can quickly assign practice and quizzes to individual students, classes or groups to drive instruction. This makes it a great tool for blended learning in the classroom and at home.
Teachers are able to provide pre-assessments to determine how students are starting out on a unit. This makes it very useful for teachers to determine how students are currently performing. This is especially useful for teachers who need data to determine how to group students in the classroom.
By default students have access to all of the programs subscribed to by your school. Therefore, teachers can go in and fine-tune the activities that students have at their disposal. This makes it a great way to offer differentiation inside the classroom. For English Language Learners (ELL’s), the text-to-speech feature allows students to select text and press play to have the text read aloud through the computer's speakers or headphones; this is great way to provide additional support to those students who may be reading or performing below grade-level.
Compare to Other Classrooms and State:
Study Island provides insights into the way other groups of students may be using the software. This insight allows you, the teacher, to see how your class may compare with other populations inside and outside of the school.
Teachers may also access lesson plans for specific skills if necessary. This may reduce the amount of time a teacher spends preparing lessons targeted at a specific skill or objective.
Teachers may be able to download worksheets to use for whatever reason.
Teachers can adjust the percentage correct required to achieve the blue ribbon in the classroom. This makes it a great tool that can be used as a way to motivate an entire class, grade or school. Students will need to keep practicing and earning more and more ribbons. For advanced students, the percentage required to earn a ribbon can be increased making it a good tool to use to motivate students to do their best.
Many of the questions that are generated on Study Island are not different than a regular downloadable worksheet. However, the main difference is that it is on a screen.
Many of the students find the activities to be a little boring. Therefore, Study Island is not really the kind of program that the average student is eager to jump on and get going. However, I have found that making a big deal out of earning badges and providing additional rewards may alleviate some of the boredom for some students. Maybe, rather than having a dedicated game mode, Study Island should have embedded, into activities, a smart educational game to act as a reward for earning a ribbon. This will provide an added incentive for students to keep working and earning ribbons.
Hard to Navigate:
Taking into consideration the amount of time that Study Island has been around, I am disappointed that the program is still so hard to navigate. I think that some minimal changes to the administrative end of the software will go a long way in improving.
Lack of Better Display of Mastery Tracking:
Many of my students ask me which skills they have mastered. It would be really beneficial for the students, parents, teachers and administrators to have a display of the standards and a way for them to see the standards mastered by the students, classes and the entire school.
One of the major problems that I have with Study Island is that the program does not generate new questions based on the skills or standards being covered. As a result of this, some of the students will go through activities and determine the correct answer to a problem and then go through the same activity again knowing what the correct responses are for each problem. This gives an inaccurate score.
Better Adaptive Learning Mechanisms:
With the widespread use of adaptive technologies, and when you think of the fact that Edmentum is now the Publisher behind Study Island, I think that it is disappointing that they have not improved Study Island to include better adaptive technologies that would improve upon the way in which questions are presented to students. Remember, a student may be in the 5th grade, but they may be working on a third grade level. Therefore, if a parent went and purchased this software it may not be very beneficial because the content presented will be above their current performance. On the other hand, if the software had better adaptive measures, the software would better be able to determine the current grade level performance of each student. This would end up being way more useful for all users.
Lack of More Cross-Curricular Reading Comprehension Activities
Taking into consideration that Study Island has a wide range of content areas under focus, I think that it would have been very beneficial for some of the reading comprehension passages to include more content that involves science and social studies content. This would have been very beneficial for students as they prepare for the Georgia Milestones Assessments.
From the Publisher- Edmentum:
Founded in 2000, Study Island, an Edmentum product, helps students in kindergarten through 12th grade master state-specific, grade-level academic standards in a fun and engaging manner. We provide standards-based instructional, practice, assessment, and productivity tools that improve the performance of educators and students via our web-based platforms.
Study Island combines rigorous content that is highly customized to specific state standards in math, reading, writing, science, and social studies with interactive features and games that engage students and reinforce and reward learning achievement. Study Island’s programs enable educators to track student performance in real-time to address individual learning gaps, while allowing administrators to monitor student progress and measure teacher effectiveness.