MCAS Best Practices (April 13 thru May 3)

We spent the last two weeks reviewing Best Practices for the math MCAS in preparation for the upcoming exams to be given the second week in May. 

We even had the first and second graders work on the 3rd Grade test as appropriate for them.  They definitely rose to the occasion.

The first week of this unit, we had the children take the 3rd, 4th or 5th grade MCAS test given Spring 2009.  If they completed it in class or brought it to the following class, I graded it and had them correct all incorrect responses.

The second week, I created a packet for them of all open response questions given during the four years prior to 2009. Again, I graded or will grade them as they complete the questions.  During this section, they were able to ask a lot of questions I would push them in the right direction, but before they could ask a question, I would require that they underline the important words and circle the important phrases.

Many of the Mathletes were inspired to go ahead a year of two and challenge themselves.  For some of them, I strongly recommended that they do higher grades with a parent due to the vocabulary gaps.

I have attached all MCAS tests for grade 3-6 given in the last five years.

Some of the best practices we discussed are as follows:

  1. Underline the important words and circle the key phrases.
  2. Draw a picture, make a chart, and label.
  3. If they are feeling like, "I don't get it," they should try something; usually it sparks understanding.
  4. When doing multiple choice, eliminate answer choices that make no sense and use process of elimination; often they can substitute all answer choices to see which one is right.
  5. If they do not get it after trying everything, they should guess as there is no reduction for wrong answers (for example, guessing is not recommended on the SATs if you cannot eliminate an answer).
  6. When an open response question says Show or Explain, do both.
  7. Use full sentences and proper spelling helps.
  8. Use arrows to add to clear presentation.
  9. Check your answer for logic; "does it make sense?"
  10. Put a box next to questions to which you want to come back.  When you go back over that question, check the box.
  11. There is no time limit and it is NOT COOL to finish early.  Take as much time as allowed; actually, there is no time limit as long as it is completed during the same day. Go back over every question at least one more time.
  12. Stand up and stretch if your teacher allows.
  13. Do as many practice tests as you can to increase your chances of success.
  14. An advanced performance on this test will open up doors to enrichment programs.  Many years from now in high school it could mean a scholarship to a Massachusetts state school -- if your child does not intend to go to a state school, it still acts as a negotiating tool to get the school of their choice to increase the financial package.

Although my purpose for doing this is to get them used to the process of concentrating for a long period of time on one thing, this can be a fun process.

g3math2009.pdf1.05 MB
g4math2009.pdf1.19 MB
g5math2009.pdf974.4 KB
g6math2009.pdf1.29 MB
g3math2008.pdf2.22 MB
g4math2008.pdf3.16 MB
g5math2008.pdf1.83 MB
g6math2008.pdf1.87 MB
g3math2007.pdf416.91 KB
g4math2007.pdf572.69 KB
g5math2007.pdf314.47 KB
g6math2007.pdf510.65 KB
g3math2006.pdf498.19 KB
g4math2006.pdf505.84 KB
g5math2006.pdf514.1 KB
g6math2006.pdf431.22 KB
g4math2005.pdf779.49 KB
g6math2005.pdf526.5 KB