Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Middle School Test Prep Strategies: Using Student Misconceptions to Help Students Improve

One of the best strategies for helping students improve whether it is reading or math is through having students analyze their own errors.  

This is the daily Common Core practice that I completed with my middle school students yesterday.  For five minutes at the beginning of class, we complete Daily Common Core ELA practice as an opening activity before going into the rest of the lesson.  We have been using this as test prep and this is my sneaky way of giving them background knowledge before we read novels and short stories.
One of the most common reading errors students make is they do not read carefully.  After students complete any type of test prep, it is so important to discuss the correct answers as well as faulty logic or poor strategies that would result in a wrong answer.

This was a another question that was missed by some students.  A few students missed this question because of a combination of not reading the passage carefully and the lack of background knowledge.  High school literature really gets into time period prose.  To help students get prepared at the middle school level, Common Core has really increased their expectations of what students should come to high school knowing.  As a result, I deliberately wrote this one day passage using 19th century Victorian dialect and with issues of that time period to give students exposure.   This will help with Common Core and also helps me find out what students already know.  

A few students did not read the text closely and totally missed some important information that could have helped with answering this question.

Having students talk about their thinking while answering questions and discussing correct and incorrect answers has proven to be helpful.

For more information about the Daily Common Core Passages that were used, click a link below.

Click Here For Grade 3
Click Here For Grade 4
Click Here For Grade 5
Click Here For Grade 6
Click Here For Grade 7
Click Here For Grade 8

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