Test season is here! While we may not enjoy it, it is a reality for many of us. With test season comes . . . test prep review. Yay! Or not, right. Over the last two weeks, I’ve shared my favorite math review strategies. (Missed the posts? See them here and here!) For the final post in the series, I’m sharing my best test prep review strategy– a data-driven math review.
There are hundreds of ways to prepare your students for large scale tests, like state tests or end of the semester exams. Many times, we create a review that includes sample questions or information for each and every standard the test will cover; however not only is this method inefficient, it’s also ineffective as well because it is difficult for students to cram such a large amount of material into their brains at one time.
How to Create a Data-Driven Test Prep Review
In order to use data to create a data-driven review, we first need to gather some data. You can do this in several ways:
- Use a previously released version of your state or summative test
- Compile your own practice version of your test
- Gather questions to use in groups of 5 or 6 that can be given over a week’s time
Next, you’ll want to analyze your data. If you’re lucky enough to have a machine that grades and analyzes the data for you—great. Otherwise, you’ll need to compile it by hand. I like to convert my data to percentages, so if you work by hand, you may want to convert the number of correct responses when compared to the total number of responses to a percent by dividing the number of correct responses by the total number of responses and multiply by 100.
The next part is the fun part, for me anyway because I love to color-code things. I color code the data, using the fill feature on a computer or online spreadsheet or a highlighter on a piece of paper, according to the percentage of students that responded correctly to the test items. It doesn’t really matter what colors you choose, just pick something that makes sense to you. Here’s the color-coding system I use:
- Below 50%- Red
- From 50% to 70%- Orange
- Between 70% and 80%- Yellow
- From 80% and 90%- Green
- Above 90%- Blue
The last step is to plan how to address the data. Here’s how I plan to address my data.
- Red- Whole Class Reteach/Review of the Question Types
- If I determine that the question type was the reason many students responded incorrectly or if the distractors were really good, then, instead of a reteach, this item would reappear in a Who’s Correct? or Whose Thinking is Correct? activity. (Want to know more about these activities? Download my Rock Star Review Strategies eBook using the form below.)
- If the problem type was not the issue, a new learning experience will be created to reteach the content.
- Orange- Math Stations with an exit ticket
- The lowest of these standards will be addressed with small group instruction within the station rotation where students complete a reteach of the content with me.
- Yellow- Spiral Review
- These questions may need to be hand-picked in order to be sure they are incorporated into my daily spiral review when I use a pre-made spiral review program.
- Green- Small Group Check-ins
- I pull small groups of students to review the mistakes they made on the initial assessment.
- Blue- Individual Conferences
- I review the mistakes students made on the initial assessment with individual students. Sometimes, I address these items while grading the initial assessment.
All that’s left is to gather materials. The biggest task will be to gather materials for stations. Don’t overlook what can be used as a station activity. Really, anything can be used to fill your station buckets as long as it is aligned to the standards. Be sure to consider card and dice games, previously used games and activities, and free online resources, like IXL math (www.ixl.com).
As I gather station materials, I will also gather 1-2 questions for each standard to use on the station exit tickets so that I can monitor the progress of the students for these standards. Want to know more about assessing math stations? Check out my Three Strategies for Assessing Math Stations blog post.
Share the strategies you use to create your math reviews in the comments section below.