## Posts Tagged ‘TEKS’

### How Well Did Our Math Resources Align to Our TEKS?

Friday, September 25th, 2015

AUTHOR: Virginia Keasler, Math Education Specialist & Susan Hemphill, Math Education Specialist

K-8 mathematics teachers have entered their second year with the new math TEKS while high school teachers are adopting updated math TEKS this year, with the possibility of new resources on the horizon.

What are some things to consider in matching up resources with the new TEKS?

In comparing the TEKS with our resources we should keep in mind exactly what the student expectation is asking. One way to do this is to break the student expectation into key concepts that we know we will need to deliver. Your district may have already broken down the SEs into key concepts for you. If not be sure to pay close attention to all the details in the SE. Keep in mind when lesson planning that these are the key concepts that need to be taught.

The next step is to look at your resources and note whether it covers all, some, or more of the key concepts than expected. Also check the depth and complexity of what is included in the resource. For example, if your TEKS have students using an operation to solve a problem, your resource should not just have them identify what operation is used to solve that problem. Check to make sure the verb of your SE matches the level in your resource.

The following SE is used as a model here. Again, you may not have time to formally write these down but keep in mind that all of these concepts must be included in your lesson planning.

 4.2E: Represent decimals, including tenths and hundredths, using concrete and visual models and money.o Represent decimals to the tenths using concrete models. o Represent decimals to the tenths using visual models. o Represent decimals to the tenths using money. o Represent decimals to the hundredths using concrete models. o Represent decimals to the hundredths using visual models. o Represent decimals to the hundredths using money.

Process StandardsAs you review your resources, consider evaluating your process standards, the released STAAR items from 2015, and your models and tools used to deliver the TEKS.

All math courses have the same process standards now from K-12. Our state assessments dual code process standards and content standards with each item. Did your resource take this factor into account? Do you need to add more to make it align?

Released STAAR Items from 2015

Released items from TEA are examples of dual-coded problems with process and content standards. It is important to refer to the released items as you review your resource. Released STAAR Items for 2015 Link

Models/tools

In reading your TEKS, are all the models and the tools stated included in the resource and do they provide enough experiences for your students to have mastery? Our example above has concrete and visual models, so both must be included for this resource to be fully aligned.

We hope you will use some of these ideas this year as you acquire new resources.  Now it’s your turn….go forth and align!

### Formative Assessment in Science: Three Big Ideas

Friday, November 21st, 2014

### Author: Cynthia Holcomb, Education Specialist, Elementary Science

It’s a hot topic: Formative Assessment. Every resource will define it for you in basically the same way: formative assessment is for learning while summative assessment is of learning. But in plain language, formative assessment is an activity in which students share their developing ideas while the learning is still taking place. It’s a very active approach to learning.

So, how do we use formative assessment in science instruction? By nature, science is an active process that provides opportunities for students to discuss what they are learning as they practice what they are learning. Science instruction should provide experiences and types of thinking used by all scientists.

Consider these three Big Ideas about formative assessment in the science classroom.

1.  A critical part of science teaching is having a dialogue, not a monologue, with students to clarify their existing ideas and to help them construct the scientifically accepted ideas (Scott, 1999). An activity to promote rich discussion is called the S.O.S Statement. The teacher presents a statement (S), asks each student to state an opinion (O) about the topic, and then support (S) his or her opinion with evidence. This activity can be used before or during a lesson to assess student attitudes, beliefs, and knowledge about a topic. It can be used at points throughout a unit or lesson to assess what students are beginning to understand about the topic. And it can be used at the end of a unit to see if ideas have been influenced or changed as a result of new learning.

2.  No matter how well-planned a lesson, the need to determine student understandings through unplanned formative assessments may arise. Clock Partners is a method of creating sets of partners for spot checks of content knowledge. In this activity, each student is given a copy of a Clock Partners sheet (a picture of an analog clock face) at the beginning of a grading period, unit of study, or other desired length of time. Each student meets with classmates to write their names by a corresponding hour of the clock so that the resulting partners have each other’s names on matching hours. To pair students for discussions, announce a time slot on the clock; partners meet to discuss, clarify, or summarize content ideas. Have partners report out their key ideas as a means of assessing their understandings of the topic and to determine if re-teaching is necessary. For more information on Clock Partners, see http://www.readingquest.org/strat/clock_buddies.html.  (This site includes a downloadable clock template.)

3.  For a quick but effective formative assessment activity, ask students to create an analogy about content. When students create metaphors and analogies, it can express a level of understanding that traditional questions and quizzes don’t address (Wormeli, 2009). A student-created analogy provides a map of how the learner links ideas together; it shows insight regarding connections from prior learning as well as highlighting misconceptions.  Periodically, present students with an analogy prompt: A ________ is like _________ because ______________. (Example: A cell’s plasma membrane is like a factory’s shipping and receiving department because it regulates everything that enters and leaves the cell.) This high level of application requires students to think deeply about content as well as to help guide instruction.

As an added benefit, while the formative assessment process provides information needed to adjust teaching and learning while they are still happening, the process also provides practice for the student and a self-check for understanding during the learning process.

Sources

Scott, P. (1999). An analysis of science classroom talk in terms of the authoritative and dialogic nature of the discourse. Paper presented to the 1999 NARST Annual Meeting. Boston, MA.

Wormeli, R. (2009). Metaphors & Analogies: Power Tools for Teaching Any Subject. Stenhouse.

### Making a Case for Information Literacy

Friday, November 21st, 2014

### Author:  Leslie Barrett, Education Specialist: Technology & Library Media Services

Information literacy. What is it? Quite simply, it is the ability to sift through an abundant quantity of information to find what you need to accurately answer a question you have. It is knowing how to refine an information search to get a smaller but more accurate selection of resources to answer your question (i.e., “puma NOT shoes”). And it is knowing when one source (National Geographic) may be more reliable than another source (Bob’s Blog About Cool Science Stuff).

So why does it matter? The information landscape of today’s digital world is changing at incredible rates. According to Gonzalez (2004), the “half-life of knowledge,” or the time between acquiring knowledge and the obsolescence of that knowledge, is shrinking. Effectiveness in today’s workforce requires knowing how to stay current on the most up-to-date information possible. “As knowledge continues to grow and evolve, access to what is needed is more important than what the learner currently possesses” (Siemens, 2005). Knowing how to find out is rapidly replacing knowing. Information literacy is knowing how to find out.

We are seeing more and more digital devices being included in classrooms to facilitate the learning process. This creates perfect opportunities to make sure we are integrating information literacy skills into our content area instruction. Fortunately, some common threads of information literacy are already woven into the process standards of the four major content area TEKS. Consider the following TEKS examples:

ELAR Research Strand

Students are expected to know how to locate a range of relevant sources and evaluate, synthesize, and present ideas and information.

ELAR Figure 19

Students are expected to apply deep comprehension strategies when reading such as:

make connections (text to self, text, community),

make inferences and support with text evidence,

summarize, and

Social Studies Process Standards

Students are expected to use a problem-solving process to identify a problem, gather information, list and consider options, consider advantages and disadvantages, choose and implement a solution, and evaluate the effectiveness of the solution.

Science Process Standards

In all fields of science, students are expected to analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing, including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student. In addition, students will evaluate the accuracy of the information related to promotional materials for products and services such as nutritional labels.

Mathematics Process Standards

Students will use a problem-solving model that incorporates analyzing given information, formulating a plan or strategy, determining a solution, justifying the solution, and evaluating the problem-solving process and the reasonableness of the solution.

In creating learning activities around these standards, teachers can incorporate opportunities for students to search the web and databases of scholarly resources to find information to support their content understanding. When Google searches produce information that is inaccurate or too broad, the opportunity exists to teach students ways to refine searches or access more scholarly sources to yield more effective results. With the return of state funded database access through www.texquest.net teachers in Texas public schools and open enrollment charter schools will have free/low cost access to digital academic resources to support information literacy integration. Your campus librarian can be a fantastic resource to assist teachers in integrating information literacy skills into instruction, but it is important that information literacy skills integration is occurring regularly in classroom activities and not just on occasional library visits.

As the “basis for lifelong learning” (ACRL, 2000), information literacy is one of the greatest skills we can instill in our students. The increasing availability of technology in our classrooms makes integrating information literacy skills into instruction an attainable goal.

References

ACRL. (2000). Information literacy competency standards for higher education. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/informationliteracycompetency#ildef

Gonzalez, C. (2004). The role of blended learning in the world of technology. Retrieved from http://www.unt.edu/benchmarks/archives/2004/september04/eis.htm

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. Retrieved from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm

### A New Math STAAR

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

### Author: Fredric Noriega

Texas is set to implement the revised math standards during the 2014-2015 school year for grades kindergarten through 8. High school math teachers will implement new math standards in their courses for the following year, 2015-16. Along with the implementation of the new math standards we are going to see a very different Math STAAR than we had originally anticipated. Depending on the grade level, some of these changes are either a blessing or a curse. Here are the changes we can expect:

All new TEKS are fair game

New Testing Format

Since all new standards will be eligible on the STAAR assessment we also have new resources. TEA has made the following available:

• Assessed Curriculum Documents. These documents identify the new Reporting Categories. New Supporting and Readiness standards are identified as well as which standards are eligible for testing.
• Blueprints. These documents give an at-a-glance look at the reporting categories including supporting and readiness standards.  They also act as a guide in determining how many STAAR questions can be expected from each reporting category.
• Reference Materials. These documents include formulas and conversion tables that students will be able to use on the STAAR exam.

All of these documents can be found by visiting the TEA webpage at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/staar/math/.

Calculators are required on the 8th grade STAAR

The new 8th grade standards place a strong emphasis on developing algebraic skills and, because of this, TEA has decided that students will require the use of a calculator. Many middle school campuses may only have one set of graphing calculators per math teacher, but that may not be enough to offer 1:1 calculators during testing. Some schools are planning to borrow calculators from the local high school, while other schools and districts are trying to find money in their budgets to purchase more calculators.  Another option currently under pilot for 8th grade math students for the 2014-2015 school year is to use a graphing calculator app on a tablet or non-smart phone mobile device.

Algebra 2 EOC is back

The Algebra 2 STAAR EOC assessment is going to return during the 2014-2015 school year; however, TEA is making the assessment optional; the results are only going to be used to determine college academic readiness and will not be used for accountability purposes. Note: TEA has made the assessment optional for students taking Algebra 2; however, a district could make the decision to require Algebra 2 students to take the exam.

The information here was shared by TEA at the Spring TASM meeting on Feb. 21, 2014.

### Why Did the Poet Do That?—The Case for Teaching Author’s Craft

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

### Authors: Janet Hester and Lenicia Gordon, Literacy Specialists

We know that we are growing beyond the old classroom paradigm of drilling printed lists of terminology and moving toward providing authentic reading and writing experiences for our students.  Contemporary research affirms the need for students to be interested in their reading and writing tasks. Student choice of reading text is critical for engagement. An authentic purpose for reading is paramount. An onus to write and a responsibility to communicate will promote true participation in learning the skills of writing.  Students are no longer interested in jumping through hoops. But they will create their own diversions—if we could only harness their individual interests.

Yes, we all agree on the need for authenticity and student ownership of knowledge. But then it seems TEKS and STAAR mandates box us in—how can we teach the power and art of language when we are beholden to the State of Texas?

TEA Agrees with Best Practices

It turns out that our mandates and best practice are not far apart at all. In fact, if we only looked closely at our state curriculum and assessments, took a deep breath, believed in our students’ ability, took another deep breath, and trusted that daily reading and writing would improve their language skills, the kids might just be all right.

The TEKS reveal that students should be reading like writers and writing like—well—true writers.

For example, the student expectations in poetry ask students to “analyze how poets use sound effect to reinforce meaning” and “analyze the importance of graphical elements on the meaning of a poem” in the 5th and 7th grade, respectively. Now, harkening to those old classrooms, it would be tempting as a teacher to get caught up in the technical definitions of “sound effects” or “graphical elements”: to create a vocabulary list of these terms, drill our students, and arrest student learning at a Depth of Knowledge Level 1 or a Bloom’s Category of Remembering.

Yet, we are charged with teaching more than the terms, and we must extend student learning to include analyzing the effect of the terms. We should be teaching students the power of words and asking our students to analyze all the trouble a writer goes through to communicate.

Beyond the language of the TEKS themselves, released STAAR reading items from 2011 and 2013 elucidate this responsibility.

See an example of a 2013 English I released question:

A student answering this question correctly needn’t recite all the technical information she knows about analogies in poems; she must instead be familiar with interpreting poetic meaning. This item is dual-coded as 3/Fig.19(B), or as the overarching Knowledge and Skills statement of poetry (3) and the reading comprehension skill Figure 19(B). The skills assessed, according to the dual-coding, are to “make inferences . . . about the . . . elements of poetry” and “make complex inferences about text,” from the poetry Knowledge and Skills statement and  Figure 19(B) comprehension standard. For this question in particular, making inferences about the elements of poetry means interpreting what the analogy means in the context of the poem—reading the poem as a poet and determining the author’s intent of the analogy (not the technical terminology of “analogy”).

Here’s another example from the Grade 7 2013 Released items:

Again, the question does not assess the level of understanding of the term, imagery, but of the term’s use. It assumes understanding of the term itself. This question is dual-coded as well, as 8/Fig. 19 (D), or the overarching Knowledge and Skills statement of Sensory Language (8) and the reading comprehension skill, Figure 19(D). The skills assessed, according to the dual-coding, are to “make inferences . . . about how an author’s sensory language creates imagery in literary text” and “make complex inferences about text.”   Essentially, to answer this question, students must read poetic language and determine the intended purpose of the imagery used.  Students should be reading poems and learning how to ask themselves this question, again and again, “Why did the writer do that?”  Students should be reading like poets. In other words, in order to understand why poets and authors do what they do, students must be charged with making these same types of deliberate decisions in their own writing…..

The Learning Model—Reading and Writing Like Writers

So, how does a student get comfortable with reading poetry like a poet? Not by memorizing terms. We’ve written about this process before, and we will do so again. Jeff Anderson has written extensively in 10 Things Every Writer Should Know about flooding students with text so that they might inductively learn author’s craft and strategies.

1. Teachers should flood students with text by exposing them to massive classroom libraries.  Newspapers.  Magazines and blogs. Students should be reading text of their choice. There should be so much text, kids have no option but to find that book about bulldogs—their own personal passion—and settle down to read.
2. After reading independently, teachers should pull powerful mentor texts and engage the class in reading and discover for themselves the characteristics of the genre. There should be a controlled groundswell of Noticing these characteristics. The teacher should scribe these noticings on class anchor charts for easy reference throughout the year.
3. Then, the teacher should divert the groundswell by creating opportunities for partner, small group and class discussion. By Interacting, students should discover the text features of expository text, and realize that they serve a function for the reader. The writer placed them there on purpose.
4. The students should then Name those characteristics as the academic term and as their own definition.
5. Teachers should provide students with opportunities to Experiment using those characteristics in their own writing and revision processes.
6. Reflecting and metacognition—students should reflect upon the knowledge they learned and how it fits into their own schema. Allowing time for reflection allows students to make the learning about reading and writing their own.

This method may be used over and over again, so that students develop a habit of reading and noticing, become experts at interacting with the text, develop an intuition for naming strategies they encounter, and, finally, become proficient in employing these strategies as a writer of the genre.  See the diagram below.

To understand author’s craft in any genre, students must see examples of the genre, discover their own examples, and ask the question over and over, “Why did the writer do that?”  Ultimately, writing their own arguments, explanations, and poetry worthy of interpretation will extend the learning.

As it turns out, the TEKS and STAAR’s interpretations of the TEKS call for students to be able to interpret the effect of writers using their tools. And STAAR assesses this zealously, with the help of the dual-coding of Knowledge and Skills statements and Figure 19.  This is a good thing. It means we do not have to teach static lists of terms. The state charges us with teaching authentic reading and writing. How fortunate, because this is precisely what is best for students.

### Personal Financial Literacy Resources

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

### Authors: Region 13 Math Team

Beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, the revised math standards will be introduced along with a new strand to grades K-8, Personal Financial Literacy. Students are already learning about Personal Financial Literacy through Social Studies and in high school Economics. Now they will see how it ties to math as well. The PFL strand is going to require teachers to not only learn about a new topic, but learn how-to-teach this new topic. This has the potential to be difficult for teachers. Some student expectations can be organically integrated into the curriculum; for example in 8th grade students will be expected to…

8.12D calculate and compare simple interest and compound interest earnings.

Most 8th grade math teachers will be able to easily infuse this standard into their curriculum when they are working with rational numbers. Certain PFL standards could require more time and preparation. Consider the following 3rd grade standard:

3.9B describe the relationship between the availability or scarcity of resources and how that impacts cost.

Teaching this standard to 3th graders will more than likely require a learning experience that could take several days. But what support will teachers have in developing these activities for students? Because these standards are new, and yet to be implemented, we thought you might like to know about some resources available to teachers. Below is a compilation of resources that are available to teachers.

In addition to these resources, Region 13 is hosting trainings provided by the Texas Council on Economic Education. These face-to-face workshops will provide teachers with resources that are correlated to the new Personal Financial Literacy standards. The trainings will be offered in grade clusters on the following dates: November 7 (K-2), February 10 (3-5), and February 26 (6-8). Find more information here.

### Ring Out the Old, and Ring in the New

Friday, March 29th, 2013

### Author: Fredric Noriega, Secondary Mathematics Specialist

On April 20, 2012 the State Board of Education approved revisions to the Mathematics TEKS; in other words, Math is getting new TEKS! The new Math TEKS apply to grades K-8, and most high school math courses. A complete list of the new TEKS can be found at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=2147499971. New TEKS for grades K-8 are scheduled to be implemented in the 2014-2015 school year, while new TEKS for high school are scheduled to be implemented in the following academic school year of 2015-2016. How will this affect the STAAR testing? According to TEA, during the year of implementation they plan to assess students on the “overlapping” student expectations for each grade level. For example, consider the current 7th grade STAAR bank of test questions; during implementation year they will only include those questions that assess a current student expectation and simultaneously a student expectation from the new TEKS. Students can still expect to see field test questions on the STAAR assessments.

Preparation for the new TEKS should begin during the 2013-2014 school year, one year prior to the implementation year for K-8. Teachers and campus leaders should conduct a side-by-side analysis comparing the content and cognitive changes between the current and new TEKS. In addition, teachers need to determine if the new TEKS will cause any gaps in student knowledge and, if so, begin discussing what can be done to ensure those gaps are filled. This will need to be a collaborative effort amongst multiple grade level instructors. For example,  a 6th grade teacher will need to work with both the 7th and 5th grade teachers to ensure that students do not miss any content when moving to the next grade. The final step will be for instructors to make sure they are prepared to teach any content that is new to them. If the Student Expectation came from a different grade level, it would be a good idea to find which grade it came from and seek out that teacher to share both content knowledge and effective instructional strategies for the new content.

In an effort to support the implementation of the new TEKS, TEA will offer online professional development modules beginning in the Spring of 2013. These courses will be offered via Project Share. Below are the descriptors for each course offering.

 Introduction to the Revised TEKS: Focal Points and TEKS Comparisons, K-2 Introduction to the Revised TEKS: New Content, New Opportunities to Learn, K-2 Introduction to the Revised TEKS: Building on Fluency to Build Proficiency, K-2 Introduction to the Revised TEKS: Mathematical Process Standards and Project Share Gateway Resources, K-2 Focal Points and TEKS Comparisons Gap Analysis Fluency and Proficiency Mathematical Process Standards Examine the focal points within the newly revised mathematics TEKS and compare the new TEKS to the current TEKS to improve overall mathematics instruction. Explore models of vertical alignment that strengthen participants’ knowledge of mathematics concepts and processes, leading to student success on statewide assessments and post-secondary readiness. Find out what standards are new to each grade level. Explore a gap analysis for the transition from the current TEKS to implementation and assessment of the new mathematics TEKS so you can be prepared for success in 2014-2015. Examine the learning progressions within the newly revised mathematics TEKS that develop fluency and proficiency. Engage in activities designed to support and enhance fluency, leading to student success on statewide assessments and post-secondary readiness.Study the mathematical process standards in the newly revised mathematics TEKS. Explore online activities that support student learning through integration of the mathematical process standards and grade-level content.

 Introduction to the Revised TEKS: Focal Points and TEKS Comparisons, 3-5 Introduction to the Revised TEKS: New Content, New Opportunities to Learn, 3-5 Introduction to the Revised TEKS: Building on Fluency to Build Proficiency, 3-5 Introduction to the Revised TEKS: Mathematical Process Standards and Project Share Gateway Resources, 3-5 Focal Points and TEKS Comparisons Gap Analysis Fluency and Proficiency Mathematical Process Standards Examine the focal points within the newly revised mathematics TEKS and compare the new TEKS to the current TEKS to improve overall mathematics instruction. Explore models of vertical alignment that strengthen participants’ knowledge of mathematics concepts and processes, leading to student success on statewide assessments and post-secondary readiness. Find out what standards are new to each grade level. Explore a gap analysis for the transition from the current TEKS to implementation and assessment of the new mathematics TEKS so you can be prepared for success in 2014-2015. Examine the learning progressions within the newly revised mathematics TEKS that develop fluency and proficiency. Engage in activities designed to support and enhance fluency, leading to student success on statewide assessments and post-secondary readiness. Study the mathematical process standards in the newly revised mathematics TEKS. Explore online activities that support student learning through integration of the mathematical process standards and grade-level content.

 Introduction to the Revised TEKS: Focal Points and TEKS Comparisons, 6-8 Introduction to the Revised TEKS: New Content, New Opportunities to Learn, 6-8 Introduction to the Revised TEKS: Building on Fluency to Build Proficiency, 6-8 Introduction to the Revised TEKS: Mathematical Process Standards and Project Share Gateway Resources, 6-8 Focal Points and TEKS Comparisons Gap Analysis Fluency and Proficiency Mathematical Process Standards Examine the focal points within the newly revised mathematics TEKS and compare the new TEKS to the current TEKS to improve overall mathematics instruction. Explore models of vertical alignment that strengthen participants’ knowledge of mathematics concepts and processes, leading to student success on statewide assessments and post-secondary readiness. Find out what standards are new to each grade level. Explore a gap analysis for the transition from the current TEKS to implementation and assessment of the new mathematics TEKS so you can be prepared for success in 2014-2015. Examine the learning progressions within the newly revised mathematics TEKS that develop fluency and proficiency. Engage in activities designed to support and enhance fluency, leading to student success on statewide assessments and post-secondary readiness. Study the mathematical process standards in the newly revised mathematics TEKS. Explore online activities that support student learning through integration of the mathematical process standards and grade-level content.

We at Region 13 are also offering and planning multiple opportunities to act as support during this time of transition to the new TEKS. We look forward to making sure all instructional staff have a deep understanding of the new standards and that all students have the opportunity to be successful.

### Reflections from an EOC Parent, Part 3

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

### Author:Collections compiled from a team of Education Specialists

In each In-Sight newsletter this academic year, we feature a reflection from a parent of an “EOC student”.  Current 10th grade students have been the first to interact with the new EOC assessments and, as a result, we can learn from their experiences and those of their families.  It is also possible to unintentionally send the wrong information or share information that is not quite as clear for the person receiving it as it could be in order for it to be informative and helpful.  It can be easy to forget that our perspective and the jargon we use on a daily basis as professionals in the education business does not always translate easily to those unfamiliar with the industry’s language and this is even truer when you consider non-native English speakers and readers.  As we learn and navigate these new waters, it is also our responsibility to help others do the same; after all our goals include students owning their own learning and for families to be informed and involved.

While this installment is indeed a reflection from an EOC parent, it also happens to be a parent with a good deal of knowledge and experience within the education system.  The entry describes interactions between parent and student leading up to the implementation of this new assessment program but then goes beyond to offer a look at the data.  This is a wonderful addition as we begin to receive more data and face analysis, distribution, and clarification of it.  The pictures included come from the EOC report received by the parent.  In this case the parent’s experience allowed for easy navigation but the entry does raise the question as to whether or not all of our stakeholders truly know what this information means.  This EOC parent also added a few questions that arose as a result of looking at their student’s data.  Are we prepared to answer these types of questions?  You will also find short answers to each question included.

As always, identifying information has been changed or deleted but the reflection piece itself remains as intended by its author.

As an educator with a freshman son, I humorously referred to myself last year as an EOC Mom.  My son didn’t quite take the arrival of this new assessment as I did.  I sat him down last fall and showed him the PowerPoint posted on the Region 13 website that gave a general overview of what was going to be required of him at the end of the 2012 school year.  He didn’t seem so concerned about our little review and told me he wasn’t that worried about it.  It was a fairly typical response from an overly confident 15 year old, but he shared with me that it wasn’t that he didn’t care, but rather that he had passed all his TAKS tests in the past.  He had a reasonable point and a good history of doing fairly well in school with A’s and B’s.  I still tried to show him the released sample assessments to further expose him to the format of the test, but again he brushed it off and was less than enthusiastic to take a look.  In an effort to not be the “helicopter” parent, I backed off and decided to let him do it his way, on his own.  This was the case until about February when we started to see some of his writing assignments and noticed his writing still hadn’t improved much from the beginning of the year.  On Saturdays after he finished all of his regular homework, we would have him write. We didn’t go the route of having him write to a possible STAAR prompt, but rather held him to writing pieces of whatever he wanted with the intent of getting him to write and reflect on the revision process.  He needed help on the basics of thesis development, writing organization, sentence structure, and grammar.  This went on for about two months and we just hoped that our time working with him would help him with his writing.  So here’s how he did on the 2012 EOC Assessments:

World Geography

Algebra I

English I Writing

Biology

I’m obviously ecstatic that he passed all of his EOCs for his freshman year, but I have a number of questions after reading these scores.

1. On the Biology EOC I see two areas that he appeared to struggle in: Biological Processes and Systems and Mechanisms of Genetics.  Could this impact him on the Chemistry EOC he will have to take this year or the Physics EOC his junior year?

A: Probably not.  The high school science courses are very distinct from one another and the content student expectations that will be assessed on Chemistry EOC and Physics EOC will be different.  It is important to note that much of what he was assessed on the Biology EOC was built upon in middle school.  The Grade 8 Science STAAR would be a really good indicator on how he might do on the high school Biology EOC.

1. On the Algebra I EOC he struggled most with Quadratic and Nonlinear Functions.  Will this impact him on the Geometry EOC or Algebra II EOC he will have to take?

A: Probably. The math courses build upon knowledge learned in previous courses.  About 40% of what is learned in Algebra I is incorporated in Geometry. Algebra II is really Algebra I + more, so 100% of what he learned in Algebra I will be cycled into the Algebra II EOC.

1. He knocked World Geography out of the park with Level III Advanced Academic Performance, but will he do the same for World History or U.S. History?

A: Not necessarily.  The tested high school Social Studies courses have differing student expectations per course. Much of the same process skills may be assessed on the World Geography EOC, World History EOC, and U.S. History EOC, but not necessarily the same content.

1. On English I Reading he had difficulty on Understanding/Analysis Across Genres: Paired Short Answer Selections.  What does this indicate for English II Reading EOC and English III Reading EOC?

A: Although this section evaluates reading, it also evaluates writing.  The paired short answer selection requires the student to compare two genres of reading.  The student then has to write a short answer response to the selection.  He will see this again on the English II and III Reading EOCs.  It is important to note that last year was the first year freshmen students in Texas were assessed in a short answer response format.

1. Just as we anticipated, he struggled with the English I Writing EOC in comparison to the other subject areas.  It looks like there is room for improvement in Written Composition, so will he be tested like this again on the English II EOC or III EOC?

A: While he needs improvement on Literary Composition portion, he will not be tested on it again.  He will be tested again sophomore year on Expository Composition along with the newly incorporated Persuasive Composition.  On the English III Writing EOC he will have to write another Persuasive Composition and an Analytical Composition.

**An interesting aspect for further discussion on a campus level is to examine student’s scale score outcomes in comparison to the projected 2016 Final Recommended Level II Satisfactory scale scores.

This particular entry is quite comprehensive in that we are able to see a glimpse of pre-administration, actual results, and questions that came to exist after reviewing the results. This is certainly not an exhaustive list of questions that students and families may have.  They may not even be questions that some students and families think or know to ask due to concentrating more on the “How do I read this?” and the more general “So what does this mean?” type of questions. If a question isn’t directly asked does that mean it should not be answered?  Regardless, it is in our best interest to think ahead and be prepared to address potential questions and to do so in a manner that is clear and effective.

• What is this parent really telling us; what concerns can be heard?
• Can you identify or empathize with the parent?
• How well do you think ________________________.
• How well do we consider those parents with additional challenges, such as language or education level barriers?
• Can we be more purposeful in helping our communities learn and grow with us in today’s educational environment?

Friday, August 24th, 2012

### Author: Lannon Heflin – Program Manager for Instructional Technology

Consider the six skills categories listed here and ask yourself, “How prepared are my students to excel in each of these universally important strands of living and learning?”

1. Creativity and innovation
2. Communication and collaboration
3. Research and information fluency
4. Critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making
5. Digital citizenship
6. Technology operations and concepts

There is no doubt you agree that your students deserve a well-rounded educational experience that prepares them to be “world ready.” Fortunately, new standards for Technology Applications (TA TEKS*) have been approved and passed into law and they provide an excellent framework for educators to build truly transformative learning experiences.   The question is how prepared do you feel to integrate skills in the six strands mentioned above into daily instruction as you ensure you are meeting your obligation to teach the required technology applications curriculum for your grade level (specifically grades K-8)?

Regardless of how you answered this question, you will want to take advantage of a unique, free and high impact professional development opportunity.  Here is what you need to know.

The Texas Education Agency has released, through each Education Service Center, three facilitated online courses designed to get you successfully planning with the new TA TEKS quickly and with great confidence.  The courses are provided in grade bands K-2, 3-5 and 6-8.

Quoting from http://www.epsilen.com/grp/1220137, “The courses are free and will be offered to ISDs and Open Enrollment Charter schools that have Project Share accounts. They will be delivered completely online and the participants will earn 6 CPE hours.  Each Regional Education Service Center (ESC) will have at least one facilitator to offer these courses online through Project Share.” Additionally at this link you will find the appropriate contact information for your ESC (for non-ESC Region XIII schools).

ESC Region XIII schools and systems can find all the enrollment details and passwords at this link. http://www5.esc13.net/thescoop/instructionaltech/2012/08/03/technology-teks-training-for-all-teachers-grades-k-8-you-are-invited-to-learn.

A few important details to remember:

• For ESC XIII the facilitated courses enrollment window is August 1st – August 30th and enrollment is capped at 30 for each course.
• Course work begins on August 30th and ends on October 11th.
• Course activity includes interacting with other educators and creating, sharing and teaching a technology integrated lesson in your classroom.
• Non-classroom teachers are welcome to enroll, but it is important that you partner with a classroom teacher to complete the activities.
• Additional offers for these courses will be made in late fall, spring and summer.

*I wrote about the transition to the new TA TEKS in last August in the very first In-Sight Newsletter publication (http://www5.esc13.net/thescoop/insight/2011/08/1stquarter-technology).  This August, I want to kick off the new In-Sight Newsletter season and new school year with this invitation. You can view the TA TEKS here http://tceaadvocacy.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/ta-tes-get-an-upgrade.