Are we done yet?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

"How many more?", "Is it recess", "Can I get water?" and "What are we doing next?" are common questions I hear when conducting a standardized test, but not anymore!

I  attended a seminar last year on assessing students with Autism. I learned a great trick that I now use with students with and without Autism! I find it especially helpful for students with AD/HD or who are generally antsy to be done.

Materials: whiteboard, dry erase marker and eraser.

  • attempt to determine how long the student can attend. I usually start with 5 questions. 
  • I draw (or have students draw) 5 circles, lines or in the case above Angry Birds to represent # of questions before a small break. If 5 seems to short, add more and more each time. (Today I got to draw 20 lines on the board!)
  • After each question the student erases one of the drawings. This gives them a visual. They should no longer have to ask, "Are we done yet!?"
  • When all are erased I give the student a very small break (water, 2 mins of iPad time, play Angry Birds once). 
  • During the break I ask other questions or play. That way I can gather some informal language samples. 
Other ways to use this technique: use a small container with  a set number of tokens (chipper chat chips, marbles, small toys) on the table. Then have the student put a token in the container each time they answer a question.  I have also seen this using big plastic tubs with 3 or 4 categories on them, put out vocabulary cards (5-10) and when they are done with each question they can categorize a picture (then you can see how their vocabulary and their categorizing is!)

I also try to let students stand, or wiggle around if they want. Sometimes kids just work better when they are not sitting for a long time! It helps with AD/HD students to have something in their hands or a goal when conducting long, boring tests like the TOPS-3. 96 questions with a 6 year old!? That's long even for me!

One more helpful hint: some of my students are hesitant to say, "I don't know", or don't even guess! We end up sitting for 10-30 seconds or more in silence. A presenter suggested making a "skip it" card that students can point to! Love this!

What do you do to help your students and yourself get through long standardized tests? 

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4 Responses to “Are we done yet?”

  1. I write/draw a schedule with the child. I name subtests "activities", and after 3 "activities" (which he checks off as he does them), the child is given a break.
    Sometimes instead of the word "activity", I'll write 'blue book' or other colored book on the schedule, depending on what the assessment is. The last item on the schedule is always a preferred activity such as a game. With schedules, I rarely have difficulty with school-aged children. They can easily see the end and reward.

    1. Ruth! I like this idea! I might use this with students who have a little bit longer attention span. I like the idea of ending with a game, something to look forward to! I might have to draw up a few and laminate them just for fun. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I've done things like that (token board). I often use a visual timer. The problem is that I've also had evals last 5 hours (over many days) because of the number of breaks needed!!! Aack!

    1. I just started using the Time Timer App on my iPad! The kids love seeing the time left!