In addition to explaining about the assessment, we also broke apart a sample Smarter Balanced performance task. We used highlighters and annotation to really help students understand all the parts that make up a performance task.
These were the focus areas and descriptors that we pointed out to students as we helped them understand the assessment. There are a LOT of directions, so we wanted to point out how much information is IN those directions and why it's so very important not to skim/skip over them!
We also brainstormed good test-taking strategies. Each strategy was added to this chart. You can see how each mini-lesson focused on a different strategy to help students be successful on the performance task.
In September, we had students take a sample Smarter Balanced performance task and as a school we collected baseline data to assess areas/Common Core standards where we needed to focus our instruction to help students increase their achievement. This data was also our baseline data for our School Learning Objective. In January, our students will be taking a second practice Smarter Balanced Assessment. We will compare the data to our beginning of the year data to see where students are making gains and where to continue to focus our instruction. The good news is that many of the Common Core English Language Arts standards overlap with ones students need to apply on the assessment. Our curriculum is directly related to the skills students are being assessed on and it continues to help them feel more comfortable with such a strange, new assessment!
Last week, I reviewed the performance task charts we created at the beginning of the year. To help prepare students for the mid-year Smarter Balanced Performance Task, I had students read a sample performance task and identify the topic, audience, purpose, and format of the task. The performance task asked students to read several sources about various winter holidays. Two of the sources they had to read were online articles. Student received a note-taking sheet to help them organize their notes.
Here's another look at the split screen feature with questions on one side and a source on the other. Two scroll bars enable students to scroll through two different documents on one screen.