Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How You Can Control the Test Grader

OK, so Martha has your test and answer booklet. She doesn't know you, and doesn't care to. In fact, she doesn't know about Reading Workshop, the name of the school, the town, or the state where you live. You are just a number in a stack. A tall stack of answer booklets that have to be graded before she can take a break.

Whether or not you pass this test means less than nothing to Martha. The things on her mind include sneaking out to get a diet coke, getting rid of this head ache, figuring out how to avoid listening to her sister complain about having to babysit, and about having to do laundry after work, or she will have absolutely nothing to wear tomorrow. She is also thinking about surfing and last summer's vacation.

Now it all comes down to you, the student, and your answer booklet. Will your hard work be in vain? Will eight months of learning be wasted? Or will you be a success story making yourself, your parents, your teachers, and your school feel proud using the Strategies you have been taught?

Did you write neatly?  Can she read your responses? Did you write legibly? Trying to strain her eyes and her brain to read cat scratches is going to irritate Martha. She probably won't even take the time to sort through it. She will just give it a big, fat, zero.

Did you organize your answers to make finding key points easy?  If you restated the question and numbered your responses, Martha can easily find key words and information. Using a rubric to score short answer and extended response answers, Martha is looking for specific words and answers.

Did you go back into the essay and find specific details?  Going back and finding specific details in the passage is paramount. Any time a questions asks for specific details, they are looking for examples word-for-word from the text.

Did you use the passage to help you with your spelling?  Another factor that makes grading easier is correct spelling. Most of the words that you need to spell are either in the question, or in the passage. It just takes a second to look back and find the correct spelling.

Did you use the basic test taking skills that you have learned in class?
Images from http://www.flickr.com/photos/kandyjaxx