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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Parents should expect lower test scores

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  • Parents and students need to brace themselves for lower test scores when the new style of testing students for Common Core requirements is put into effect with a transition test this year at Skyline.
    The new Smarter Balance testing system will demand students to use more critical thinking than ever before, said Skyline Superintendent Mike Sanders at the monthly Board of Education meeting Monday night.
    Because this type of test demands more critical thinking, schools, students, parents and boards of education can expect student scores to drop when the tests are implemented.
    "Kids will not be used to this type of assessment," Sanders said.
    Teachers will have to adjust to different style of teaching in order to get the students to use more of their critical thinking skills.
    Eventually students will adapt to this type of teaching and their test scores will rebound.
    The transition test this year will incorporate both the old and new style of questions. In 2014-2015 the tests will be completely they new style of testing.
    This new style of teaching and testing will be beneficial to the students because it will force them to increase their problem solving and critical thinking skills. The days when a student could get lucky on a multiple-choice test will be gone.
    "No Child Left Behind put students behind the eight-ball," Sanders said. "I think this will be better for students."
    Businesses pushed hard to get this style of teaching and testing because they were getting students who could not think on their feet.
    A new class at Skyline for 2014-2015 may be part of the curriculum for students to improve those thinking skills.
    Banking & Financing and Investing will be added to the class schedule if the administration can find an available classroom. The class will teach students how to better manage their personal finance and will receive vocational weighting.
    Besides the new testing and new class, Skyline is getting some new technology to replace the old Smart Board system.
    Mimio is the new wireless system that is installed to an existing computer and the marker board can do anything the Smart Board could do but without the projection equipment.
    Skyline will get five units for $10,000 total and that is about half of the cost of the same number of Smart Boards.

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