By: Morgan Seckinger
We’re talking about TCAP! It’s that time of the year again and state standardized testing begins next week. TCAP or the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program is in its last year in Colorado. The test was intended to be used for two years and next year many states, Colorado included, will move on to the PARCC or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (say that five times fast!).
All acronyms aside these tests are an important aspect of how our schools are categorized on an effectiveness scale. What’s interesting is that students don’t often know what their scores could mean for their community.
This past week in my 7th teacher hosted several Q & As to demystify TCAP for our students. It was amazing to watch her break down what their scores would mean for the school and why it was important for them to try their best every day of testing. The data is dense, and not many students would take the time to examine the numbers even if they did have access to them, so it’s amazing to see the students going through each category with her guiding them. Now my students know where they tested last year, how many points they would need to improve their score, and what their scores would mean for the whole school. She’s even broken it down to show them concrete examples of what would happen if our schools scores were to consistently improve: a shortened school day! The message here: give your students legitimate reasons and explanations around why mandatory tests or rules are important and you’ll most likely see a vast improvement in their attitude!
I can’t wait to see how this transparency will affect their attitudes towards the test come next week; I know students are going into the test with a much better understanding of why they’re taking it- sometimes that makes all the difference!