The Common Core math assessments (PARCC and Smarter Balanced) are designed to measure a student's mathematical achievement in relation to the math standards, but because these assessments are administered online, they also present a new challenge to educators: teaching online test functionality.
The value of ensuring students understand terms like "click" and "drag" may not have been at the forefront of educators' minds even two or three years ago, but that is quickly changing. And with the Common Core deadline only one school year away, the time to begin helping students develop and strengthen their online testing abilities can never be too early.
"Must-know" Terms and Actions for the CCSS online assessments
With this in mind, our design and curriculum team used the knowledge they developed while creating the Wowzers online math assessments to put together a list of ten actions and terms students will encounter when taking the online assessments. Though simple, these terms are "must-knows" for students taking the new online tests.
1) "Answer Box"
Many of the assessment items require students to type or enter a response directly into a box on the screen. Often, the answer box is the only area that will record a student's response.
The backspace button is used to erase what has been previously typed or entered. This allows students to delete part of their response and change an answer upon checking their work or determining an error was made.
The online assessments contain various buttons that control navigation, response submissions, and steps needed to complete a problem. These buttons are often located next to one another and are square or rectangular in shape.
A click is the act of the student pressing down on a mouse button (or with their finger on tables) in a specific space. Depending on the item, the interaction may require students to click on an object, number, equation, and/or answer box.
Used in conjunction with the click action, a student will use a drag to move an object or number throughout the online platform. Students are frequently required to drag various things, including geometric objects, parts of an equation, or specific information found in a table or chart.
Once students click on an item and drag it through the space they will need to drop it in a designated are. The drop is the final action of clicking and dragging an object, number, or equation.
7) "Drop Down Menus"
Students, at times, are required to choose from several options on a drop down menu. They click on a down arrow which then generates a menu of choices needed to complete the designated response.
The online assessments also use a variety of objects such as geometric shapes, tables, charts, diagrams, and pictures. Students are required to interpret, manipulate, and use the objects to complete the mathematical work.
Students have the ability to clear and reset any completed mathematical work during the online tests. Answer boxes, tables, charts, and text boxes can all be cleared by clicking and/or pressing the reset button.
The select command is used as a synonym for choose. Students are asked to select a variety of items including numbers, points on a graph, geometric objects, equations, and functions.
Additional Online Testing Resources and Practice Websites
Obviously, our list is not definitive in terms of what's on the new tests. Here are a couple valuable resources to help further prepare for the respective Common Core online assessments:
Has your classroom began preparing for the new online assessments? What concerns do you have about the format or content of the tests? Visit our Facebook page to join the conversation or Tweet us your thoughts at @Wowzers.