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Instructional Coach Corner

New Mexico Standards Based Assessment

Throughout the state of New Mexico, students will begin taking the New Mexico Standards Based Assessment on Tuesday, March 19. At Chamiza, this means that students in grades 3rd through 5th will be tested on standards that they have learned in their current grade. This year there are eight days of testing, with one session per day. Unlike many years ago, these tests are no longer timed, so the pressure of completing sessions within a specified time frame is no longer present. Also, unlike tests in years past, there are fewer multiple-choice questions and more open ended or short answer questions. The purpose behind these types of questions is for students to be able to show their thinking and prove or support their answers through examples in the text or problem.

The teachers at Chamiza have been working hard to prepare our students for this big assessment throughout the year. The students have practiced how to select the best answer in multiple-choice questions through their core program unit tests. They have also regularly practiced "RACE" questions in both mathematics and literacy. "R and A" stand for Restating and Answering the question. The "C" stands for cite (the text) or compute the problem. The "E" stands for explain or expand. This test taking strategy is a tool that students can use to frame their answers to the short answer and open-ended questions. We encourage students to at least restate and answer the question as this awards them at least one point for the question. (One point is better than none at all!)

While the teachers and staff have prepared their students very well for this test, students often become stressed during these days. Basic practices of healthy meals and snacks, regular bedtimes, with at least eight hours of sleep each night will help alleviate some of the stress. Also, continued support throughout the testing window is extremely important. Many students start out very strong but get fatigued as the days of testing continue. More emotional support and/or additional rest might be necessary for some students.

Another source of stress for students can come from the belief that they don't know how to take the test or know the answers. Students can be reassured that their teachers and parents have prepared them and all we want them to do is to do their best. They have practiced skills and increased their knowledge throughout the year and have been given strategies to use while taking the test.

So during this potentially stressful time, please remind your student to read and reread the problem and text, choose the best answer, use the RACE strategy and above all DO THEIR BEST.