It is a difficult test and it is challenging to be a teacher in these grades. We need to prepare our students so that they can write the test independently. We need to train them how to answer both multiple choice questions and open response ones. We also need to work on their focus so that they can actually sit quietly and be productive independently for an hour at a time.
But we shouldn’t treat this year as the test is the all important thing. We shouldn’t teach to the test. The test does not count towards the report card mark at all. So the students shouldn’t be too worried about it. Nonetheless, test anxiety is a big concern for students of all ages. It is something that we as teachers need to be aware of.
The best way to prepare students for the EQAO is to include standardized test questions and the specific language that is used in the test throughout the year.
You can download tests from the previous years at the EQAO website here – http://www.eqao.com/
If you teach Grade 3 or 6, here are some hints for you to help prepare your students.
– design your own tests (don’t use the ones from your teacher guide. If you do, make sure to add some EQAO-type questions to it)
– go to the EQAO website and scan the mathematics booklets to find questions based on whatever unit you are teaching.
– print out these questions and physically cut and paste them onto your test or scan them into your computer.
– make sure to include some questions where they need to show their work or explain their thinking.
– do weekly reading tests
– print out questions from the EQAO website so they have practice answering some of the questions
Open Response Questions
– Teach “a-e-o” – this formula will help your students answer these type of open-ended questions.
– a = answer the question, e = find evidence in the text to support your answer, o = make sure you give your opinion.
When do you prepare your students?
– Start right away
– Don’t take time to teach to the test
– Imbed all of this into your regular program.
Use the EQAO resources online
– some of these questions will appear again in future tests.
– you can also see that they same type of questions are asked every year
– become familiar with these tests so you can really prepared your students
Teach how to write a test
– make sure students know not to spend too much time on one question. If they get stuck on a question, they should skip it and come back to it if there is time.
– they also shouldn’t leave any questions blank.
– Teach them how to make good guesses.
Take up tests
– take up every test you assign
– show students how they can improve their levels and marks.
Share the marking schemes
– the students can recognize these levels and how to achieve better marks if they are exposed to the exemplars.
Don’t sweat it too much.
This is just one test and it is a snapshot of that particular day. Sure the test says a lot about what our students are capable of doing. The important thing to remember is that this is not just a Grade 3 or Grade 6 test. The data reflects how well the students are performing and learning at our schools, not just in our classrooms.