We have been testing this week. This year we decided to test in our own rooms using the netbooks in our classrooms. We have a one-to-one netbook in our classrooms, so we decided to not worry about scheduling a spot int he computer lab. Each computer was set up with the computer-based testing module and each student practiced using it during a practice session in our classrooms. We used Google chat to get the testing codes from our testing guru. The students loved being in our classroom where is wasn't as stuffy, cosed in, and they were more comfortable in here.
One of the strategies we used this year to help our students achieve a better score was to require the students to write down their reasoning behind choosing each answer. each students had two pieces of white paper folded into nine boxes. That gave the students 36 boxes to write one sentence about why their answer was correct. We collected their papers afterwards, checked to see if they explained each answer, then shredded them. They looked pretty good. We are pretty excited about how well all the students will do. We are really excited to see how the below grade level students will do, but we are also excited to see how this affects the on and above grade level students. Will it increase their scores because they made sure they read the problems more closely? We think it will.
Using the computers has been great. The best thing is that we get the raw scores back within a few days so we can see what we as teachers need to change and add for next year. The paper/pencil tests took until August to get the results and we had a few days to plan the year. This way we can use what we have now to start thinking what we can change for the next year. This gives us the summer to think, learn, and plan better lessons, not just a couple days.