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Myths and Recommendations – Understanding and Preparing for the New End of Course Exams

In the U.S., it has become common practice (weather we like it or not), to test our students A LOT.  Often, teachers and students (and parents) are left in the dark about the content of the test, the style of questions and most importantly how to prepare for said tests.

I have been participating in this new End of Course (EOC) based system since its inception several years ago.  What I have seen is a lot of misinformation and a lot of misunderstandings.  This seems to occur on all sides of the fence, teachers, students and parents.  My hope with today’s post is to clear up some of the myths and give parents and students some guidance on what they can and should do when it comes to preparing for these cumulative EOC’s.  The added benefit is these tips also work for SAT’s, ACTs, IB and AP exams as well.

THE THREE BIGGEST MYTHS: 

1.  If I do well in a course, I will naturally do well on the end of course exam. 

SOMETIMES TRUE.  This is true if your teacher is mindfully planning and is insisting that you begin a comprehensive review of material starting about 4        months ahead of the exam.  You should also have cumulative unit tests that bring the old information back into the foreground.

2.  The EOCs are not that big of an impact on my overall grade. 

FALSE! It can be between 20-30% of your final grade.  If you go into the test unprepared, you could end up with a B or C (or worse for your final grade).

3.  The teacher is making the course too hard.

FALSE!  Any teacher, who is diligently following the state standards and mimicking the style of questions expected for the EOC will have a very    challenging course. Be thankful your child is sitting in that room, as it is the   best shot they have at getting a passing score on the EOC AND having their          final grade reflect a fair assessment of their overall performance.  Be wary    of classes where your child seems to never have homework, and seems  as if they are challenged very little.  That could be a big warning sign that the necessary learning is not happening.

HOW CAN I HELP?

1.  Students should start studying for their EOCs in January.

  • Create a study guide that identifies the critical topics for the whole year (see YEA! Youth Education Alliance’s Teachers Pay Teachers web page for parent and teacher friendly study guides).
  • Plan out which topics to study each week starting January.
  • In your plan, leave one week right before the EOC for cumulative, intense review.
  • If your child seems lost, hire a tutor or get extra help using tutoring services offered at the school.

2.  Do as many practice tests, as you can.  Repeating the same ones if you are unable  to locate many different ones.

  • Ask your child’s teacher.
  • Subscribe to an online site targeted at that subject.
  • Search for vocabulary practice on sites like Quizlet.

3.  Teach your child some test taking strategies

  • There are sites on the internet that share recommendations
  • YEA! Youth Education Alliance has tutors who specialize in this particular area visit our website for services offered.
  • You can also contact your child’s school to ask about study skills classes that they might offer.

 

In the end, the most important piece of advice I can give you is the knowledge that we are all in this new system together.  Teachers will continue to learn how best to attack these tests, and every good teacher is dedicated to passing that information on to their students.  We have to work together, and weather the storm. It is my guess that this testing atmosphere is a knee jerk response to the fact that the U.S. is falling behind other nations and the people in charge of policy believe this is the best way to fix it.  It does not matter whether we agree or disagree, right now this philosophy is in place and our kids and teachers need support to try and get through it.  Who knows what the future holds for education, but if we work together we can at least survive this latest idea on how to “fix” our education system.

posted by samantha in Education Advice,End of Course Exams,EOC,Parenting Tips,teaching tips and have No Comments

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