"Teaching to the Test"

Discuss the pros and cons of various curriculums, or get help on which to choose!

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Jenamarie
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"Teaching to the Test"

Postby Jenamarie » Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:24 pm

As I try to figure out what sorts of curriculum to order for my DD's 1st grade year (and our very first year homeschooling) I find myself getting worried about one thing: What if a curriculum doesn't cover what's necessary for DD to know by the time she starts having to take the State standardized tests?

I read reviews for, example, math curriculums, and some say they go slower or faster than traditional public school math curriculums, and/or they cover some things earlier and other things later than PS students, so what PS 4th graders are learning is something your student won't learn until, say grade 6 (using that curriculum).

Can/Do some states punish HS parents if their kids bomb the standardized tests? Will they take into consideration that my student is learning *other* things at this time, in place of some of the stuff her PS counterparts are learning?

I'm so confused. :oops:

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Theodore
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Postby Theodore » Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:09 am

The state testing web sites usually have sample questions or past exams that you can use as guidelines for filling in any potential holes. And you'd have to bomb the test REALLY badly to get a visit from social services. Personally, I wouldn't worry too much, just do a little research and spend a few days covering anything your daughter is weaker on.

Jill
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Postby Jill » Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:24 am

It depends on the state too. In our state, we have to give the test, but no particular score is required. That doesn't make much sense, but it's the law here.
At first I worried about that, but my kids have always done very well on the standardized tests. If they miss one or two because you haven't covered that skill yet, they still score high.
Best wishes.
Jill

bedashwood
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someone told me...

Postby bedashwood » Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:44 am

Some advise I was given a year or so ago was to find out what the public schools in my district used to teach their students for that particular grade. Then become familiar with it. Now I am not saying to purchase it nor use it. You must use what works best for you and your child. But if you can, review the material and look the scope and sequence of the particular curriculum. This has 2 advantages: You as the teacher know what your childs ps peers are suposedly learning (but please dont make that your only standard). And if - IF - something should happen and your child has to return to PS, you can introduce the curriculum so it wont be such a shock to them.
For example, here, the ps uses Saxon math. I am currently using horizons, but I am familiar with saxons method and how far the material goes for 1st grade.
I know many reading this may oppose, but I felt it was good advise and something to consider.

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elliemaejune
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Re: "Teaching to the Test"

Postby elliemaejune » Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:58 pm

Jenamarie wrote:As I try to figure out what sorts of curriculum to order for my DD's 1st grade year (and our very first year homeschooling) I find myself getting worried about one thing: What if a curriculum doesn't cover what's necessary for DD to know by the time she starts having to take the State standardized tests?

Are you sure your dc has to be tested? And really, very few publishers/products will be completely off from the scope and sequence of what is commonly taught in school, at least in English and math skills, and that's what is most important.

I read reviews for, example, math curriculums, and some say they go slower or faster than traditional public school math curriculums, and/or they cover some things earlier and other things later than PS students, so what PS 4th graders are learning is something your student won't learn until, say grade 6 (using that curriculum).

I wouldn't worry about that at all. People will say opposite things about the same product; they're either both right, or both wrong. It doesn't matter that much. Really.

Can/Do some states punish HS parents if their kids bomb the standardized tests? Will they take into consideration that my student is learning *other* things at this time, in place of some of the stuff her PS counterparts are learning?

One or two states will require more accountability from parents whose dc don't place at specific levels on standardized tests, but no, the states don't "punish" parents. No, it won't matter that your dc is studying something different; the state will only look at the test scores (if testing is required, as opposed to some sort of individual assessment, which is why it's important for you to know your state law).
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LisaMKH
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Postby LisaMKH » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:37 pm

It depends on where you are. But you really do not need to worry about these tests. In the states where they write their own, like Texas, homeschoolers are not required to take them. In other states, the test is along the lines of the ITBS or the Stanford. These tests mostly test general basic skills and not a collection of facts. In otherwords, you do not need to worry about your child memorizing a bunch of history dates to pass. Your child simply needs to learn basic skills like reading, spelling, grammar, math...all the normal stuff you would cover and that you covered when you were in school. The tests are not hard. I have never known a child to not score well enough. I hope this helps!

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Postby LisaMKH » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:42 pm

I will say that there is very little I have seen out there that homeschoolers use that is behind what public schools do. In fact, I have not actually seen anything that homeschoolers use that is behind. Recently, I was viewing something that is pretty much at the bottom of the totem pole for homeschoolers, yet, it was still above what the public schoolers were doing. There are a few things that are on par in math. But nothing below at all.

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teach to your goals...not to their tests

Postby hollyb » Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:04 pm

Hi jenamarie
Please see my post to sjos in Curriculum Discussion>Curriculum for next year...what do you think?
I read both yours and sjos posts and answered her thinking it was you! :oops: Anyway, I think my post speaks to her concerns as well as yours. Sorry for the goof up! Blessings to you.


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