Thursday, October 22, 2015

Readers Ask... Lesson Frames for Tests

Some LYS Assistant Superintendents ask two versions of the same question.


This has recently come up in our district, with Lesson Frames, what should we do on testing days? And what does a good Lesson Frame for a test look like?



Please provide me with a refresher on Lesson Frames for when students are taking tests (teacher made, campus common assessments, and district benchmarks).


SC Response
We get this question a lot and here is our current best thinking on this issue.

First, the purpose of a Lesson Frame is to:

1. Let the student know what we are going to teach him/her during a specific class period (The Objective); and

2. Let the student know how she/he will demonstrate that she learned the critical essence of a given lesson. Usually this is accomplished through a quick talk or a quick write (The Close).

Trying to apply this to a test is somewhat of an empty exercise. The student knows they are going to take a test, and performance on the test is the proof of (or lack thereof) learning.  So we used to advise, “Don’t worry about framing a test.”

There were teachers who though this was some sort of a cop out.

So we started seeing test lesson frames that had students reflecting on test elements that they found difficult.  Which personally, seems a little like pouring salt on an open wound.  “So you totally messed that question up, now think deeply about it.”

We call this the “Reflecting Test Lesson Frame.” If a teacher thinks there is value in this, OK.  But we can’t bring ourselves to recommend this for everyone.

At the same time we started seeing the, “Reflecting Test Lesson Frame,” we also started seeing this...

The Objective is used as a fun, motivational statement, “We will use are enormous brains to totally dominate a puny test.”

The Close is used to set a goal, "I will score at least an 88 on the puny test.”

The teachers doing this swear by it. At best, it works. At worst, it is fun.  And that is our official position.  If you are going to frame a test, use the frame to motivate and set a goal.

Try it and let us know if you notice a difference in the performance of your students.

 Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...

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