MCAS season is upon us. For some families, this will be your first MCAS experience and you may be a bit unsure of exactly what to expect.
While the English Language Arts test will be administered this week, our preparation started long ago. The students are ready. They take each challenge I set before them seriously and I believe they'll attack this assessment with the same focus and determination.
We began the week with a practice session on Monday morning. This was the final work they'll do with a released MCAS reading selection and corresponding questions. I've scheduled a well-deserved day of rest on Tuesday. The major goal for the day will be to prepare our portfolios to go home with report cards. While assembling the portfolios, adding work, and reflecting on the past term, I will guide the students so that they can see just how far they've come! The portfolio is really physical proof of each child's personal growth. Tuesday will be a success if every child goes home feeling good about his or her progress and comes into school on Wednesday feeling confident.
Here's where you come in. Even though we'll both work hard to make this first MCAS experience stress free, there is always stress associated with testing. Please make sure your child gets to bed on time so that he or she gets a good sleep the night before. Also, try to have a mellow morning at home complete with a healthful breakfast. We'll have some nutritious snacks available to all students thanks to all our generous parents. Fueling their little bodies is important. Encourage your child to put forth his or her best effort. Let your student know that you expect the test to be taken seriously and that you know he or she will give it his or her all. Most importantly, tell your child that you are proud of him or her and the hard work he or she has been doing all year.
The first session will begin at 9:30 Wednesday morning. The students are typically required to read three different reading selections (usually one to three pages in length each) and to answer the corresponding questions. Most questions are multiple choice. There will be a couple questions that the students will need to respond to by writing a few sentences and there is usually one open response question where the response required is lengthier. The state estimates that the session will take most students an hour to complete. While this is generally true, students can take as long as they need (inside one school day) and some work well beyond the two hour mark. You should expect your student to come home a little wiped out. Even though we've really been working on building their stamina this test is demanding.
Day two is much the same. The nice thing about the second day is that the first day is behind the students, they know what to expect and they never seem as nervous. On Friday we get back to work...business as usual. We still have 1/3 of the school year left and lots of important English Language Arts work to do before the students leave for the summer.
Their next MCAS test is scheduled for the month of May when mathematics proficiency is assessed. Again, this test will be administered over a two day span with testing sessions lasting about an hour each. You can help your child to prepare by making IXL practice a regular routine in your home and by working with your child to memorize his or her facts as fact fluency helps all students to work through math problems with accuracy and efficiency. Bring math into your child's daily life by involving him or her in everyday math problems and play mathematical games.
Thanks so much for all of your support. Our partnership is a key factor in student success. I continue to feel lucky to work with such high quality families. Thank you!