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Tags Posts tagged with "MCAS"

MCAS

The Dance of Blended Learning with Meredith Hubbell

A gifted teacher shows how it’s done

by Cathie Maglio, Blended Learning Specialist

One of my favorite classes is the Grade 10 Level 1 English Learners class at East Boston High School taught by Meredith Hubbell. I am amazed at the strategies Meredith has developed to help students build their English language skills. One of those strategies is our JFYNet online reading comprehension program which Meredith uses nimbly and adroitly in combination with other methods.

How to Prepare for the 10th Grade ELA MCAS

Spring MCAS tests just around the corner.

by Joan Reissman, MCAS Maven

Mid-Winter Spring ELA MCAS
We’ve hardly had a winter, but Spring MCAS tests will be here before you know it. It’s time to start preparing.

There will be two ELA test administrations in March, first the retest and then the regular Spring test. The ELA retests (Composition and Reading Comprehension) start March 2 and go to March 5. They will be the traditional paper version based on the structure of the old Legacy test. That means separate Composition and Reading Comprehension sessions. The Reading Comp sections include multiple choice and constructed response items. Three weeks later, March 24 and 25, students will be taking the new ELA test. This test will be computer based and follow the guidelines for Next-Generation MCAS 2.0.

February Biology MCAS

If eligible, don’t wait till June

by Joan Reissman, MCAS Maven

If you are eligible to take the Biology MCAS in February, you should definitely consider doing it. As with any test required for graduation, you want to give yourself as many chances as possible to pass. The February test (Feb. 5 and 6) will be a legacy test—the old MCAS. That means the questions will be based on the 2006 standards (which overlap with the 2016 standards) and it will be paper based, not online. If you don’t take this test now, you will have to wait until June. Then you’ll be running into finals and all the distractions of the end of the school year. Why not take it now if you are eligible?

Poetry and the MCAS: Last Minute Tips

Have a strategy for answering the questions.

By Joan Reissman, MCAS Maven

Poetry questions on MCAS can be very difficult for students. Past years’ results for poetry are varied. Students seem to do better with a contemporary poem. For example, in 2018 students were tested on a contemporary poem about a young man who had been jailed and how he used that experience to move his life in a positive direction. Students responded well to this poem and their success in answering the questions verified that: the average score was 89%. In 2017, however, students had to compare T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock” to an excerpt from the novel “The Fault in Our Stars.” The average on these questions was 67% If the poetry excerpt on the practice test is any indication, students will be answering questions on a challenging poem this year. The practice test features the only selection without a comparison between two texts. The poem is an excerpt from “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam,” a medieval poem interpreted and translated in the 19th century. The poem is generally considered a meditation on carpe diem (seize the day), a theme that might seem irrelevant to some students.

Strategies for MCAS Next Gen ELA
MCAS Next Gen 2.0 ELA – Expect greater emphasis on text comparison.

by Joan Reissman, MCAS Maven

The biggest change in the MCAS Next Gen 2.0 ELA test, coming to 10th grade next month, is a greater emphasis on text comparison. Although people read every day, much of the reading students do on the phone or computer is recreational. Nobody is going to quiz you on detailed comprehension after you read something on social media. There is ongoing debate over whether students comprehend better on paper or screen. But it’s academic to us, because Next Gen MCAS is coming on a screen.

MCAS Prep

Meet the new MCAS with confidence and success

by Eileen Wedegartner, Blended Learning Specialist

I started teaching in 1998. My first year I filled in for a teacher in a Boston exurb. The school was my alma mater, so English department staff took me under their wings to help me do the best one could hope for a first-year teacher. They gave me lesson plans, coached me on practice and helped me develop some good curriculum. By all measures, I had a great year in my first year of teaching.

New twists and how not to get tangled up

by Joan Reissman, Blended Learning Specialist

There has been a lot of discussion about the new MCAS 2.0 test. Parents and teachers are wondering how they can help students build the skills they need to succeed. The biggest difference is that the test will no longer be on paper. It’s online. Although students use technology every day, that doesn’t mean they will automatically know how to navigate the test. The first step in preparation is to make sure that students understand how to navigate through the test and answer all questions.

Improving Performance on MCAS Math

On MCAS, every point counts.

by Joan Reissman, Blended Learning Specialist

Although ELA has barely ended, MCAS math will be here before you know it on May 23 and 24 for high schools.

It seems obvious that the math formula page is there to help students, but few students really use it. Many questions, including open response items, are easy to solve if they just check their formulas. For example, the 2017 10th grade test had six questions that relied heavily on geometric formulas. There is almost always an open response question derived straight from the formula page. One of the best ways to show students the value of the formula page is to do one of these open response questions in class. And don’t forget the handy tool on the DESE website mentioned in my previous blog— the student work/scoring guides section. You’ll find it very useful for practicing open response.

Last- minute quick tips for the MCAS ELA open response

Simple techniques to improve performance

by Joan Reissman, Blended Learning Specialist
Many students lose points on the ELA open response questions. We know that some students don’t like to write. But even so, we can improve their performance with some simple techniques.

The 2017 average on ELA multiple choice questions was 80%. Yet the average on open response questions was only 68%. The discrepancy is not due to test position: students did best on the first and last questions of the four open response questions (Reading Comprehension section). So how can we help students score at least a 2 or 3 on open responses?

Puerto Rico: Hurricane’s Children Make Landfall

Maria to Massachusetts

by Eileen Wedegartner, Blended Learning Specialist

On Wednesday, September 20, 2017, while life here in Massachusetts was proceeding as any other fall day would, Puerto Rico was devastated by a hurricane named Maria that still leaves 30% of the island without electricity.

Like many other people, I expressed my concern for my fellow Americans by contributing to agencies that could help the recovery. I was proud to see members of my local electric company go down to help, and proud to see how many states, including Massachusetts, responded to the need.