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Arctic Mama

Iowa test rant

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Okay.  I’m going back to Terra Nova next year for k-3, because Iowa is WAY too advanced in the reading requirements for  the test.  I have a kid who is working well at grade level in Logic of English for first grade phonics and handwriting, and the entire vocabulary portion of the year has sentences and vocab with phonograms that are a year or two ahead of where she is at, at a minimum, with complex grammar and sentence structure to boot.   
 

I double checked that this was a section intended for the students to read to themselves and it was.  I can’t believe how far above the CAT and Terranova tests this is for the grade level.  What the heck happened to the standards?!  And I’m not new at this, I’ve been teaching and testing for almost a decade now, and haven’t had issues with Iowa in higher grades.  Are they just wildly out of sync for the younger years or is this normed for children who have phonetic fluency by age seven? It’s totally skill inappropriate for the second half of first grade, at least from all the years of this I’ve taught.  Have the newer academic standards for younger children skewed that hard from where they used to be?  Because yeah, Iowa for the older kids was always a rather easy test, and if I were to read these to the first grader she would be fine too.  But it’s way way too difficult for her to read to herself in the sections they are indicating. 

Way to catch me off guard on testing morning 🥺😖 Now we both feel like failures today, and this is a child who tests well and completes her work without too much difficulty otherwise.

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Is this the new form of the test?  Because we did the first grade ITBS many years ago, and I remember that the vocabulary section was read aloud by the adult and the student selected the answer from a group of pictures.  

 

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5 minutes ago, EKS said:

Is this the new form of the test?  Because we did the first grade ITBS many years ago, and I remember that the vocabulary section was read aloud by the adult and the student selected the answer from a group of pictures.  

 

Yeah this is the new one.  It specifically says the vocabulary and computation tests are to be read by the student.  Which is super hard for a kid who hasn’t encountered half of these phonograms yet 😬

I’ve had three other first graders and never encountered this sort of mismatch between test expectations and skills.  It was very jarring.  And I just tested with Terra Nova two years ago at this same level with zero problems.  

Edited by Arctic Mama

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Yeah we moved onto a section where I’m reading most of it and she is sounding out parts of words for vocab and she is nailing it.  The beginning sections were bizarro in their reading level.  Grr.

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1 hour ago, EKS said:

Is this the new form of the test?  Because we did the first grade ITBS many years ago, and I remember that the vocabulary section was read aloud by the adult and the student selected the answer from a group of pictures.  

 

We used the old test a few years ago. I ended up having to explain some of the pictures--one was a rotary phone. 😄

It's disappointing to hear that the test is so inappropriate for young kids now. I wonder if test prep in public schools includes common test instruction words as sight words. 🙄

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I like Logic of English but, as a Spalding student and teacher, Foundations is agonizingly slow at introducing all the phonograms in my opinion. I don't agree with trying to learn all 70 or more before starting anything else like other programs suggest but I don't like how slowly Foundations does it either. I don't know if LOE, as opposed to Foundations, is any faster with introducing them.

I remember doing ITBS testing in elementary school in the late 80s and early 90s, I don't remember the reading sections being terribly hard but the entire district used TWRTR. All phonograms were introduced by the second term of first grade or in the first nine weeks if you entered the district after first grade like I did. 

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1 hour ago, sweet2ndchance said:

I like Logic of English but, as a Spalding student and teacher, Foundations is agonizingly slow at introducing all the phonograms in my opinion. I don't agree with trying to learn all 70 or more before starting anything else like other programs suggest but I don't like how slowly Foundations does it either. I don't know if LOE, as opposed to Foundations, is any faster with introducing them.

I remember doing ITBS testing in elementary school in the late 80s and early 90s, I don't remember the reading sections being terribly hard but the entire district used TWRTR. All phonograms were introduced by the second term of first grade or in the first nine weeks if you entered the district after first grade like I did. 

The main LoE Essentials text introduces them quickly, but Foundations introduces them slowly. This kiddo actually need more repetition because she struggles with memory, for some reason we haven’t figured out, but even then she will be 7 next week.  Developmentally, introducing them any faster would be WAY too much.  My kids have all had different challenges in learning to read and none got it intuitively like I did as a kid, but they’re all extremely fluent by the end of second grade.  First, though, has really varied.

Maybe level 7 is just too much for where she is at.  But I don’t think even my gifted student would have been reading this easily when she was this age, and this kid reads encyclopedias for fun and writes her own books now in middle school.

I never took the Iowa, myself.  Just the STAR and CAT-5. But I have used the lower grades of Terra Nova with the older kids and switched to CAT and ITBS in higher grades with no issue. Nor did any of them struggle with TN in first.  So this makes me think it’s a mismatch of the earlier years of ITBS to the scope and sequence we use, maybe combined with her being a very young first grader and not having awesome working memory for decoding despite being very bright with comprehension concepts and vocabulary. 

So many tears this morning.  We have brought our chocolate chips to improve spirits but even that is only sort of working 😭

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Tears are no good. No testing should be so hard that it brings tears in elementary school. :-(

My LOE Foundations kid turned 7 in January. We have actually veered away from LOE a bit because I discovered he has the opposite problem. LOE was going so slow that he was second guessing himself. Of course he wasn't complaining about the easy work but the pace being too slow showed itself in other ways like regression and second guessing. I use it for ideas and readers but we've kinda gone our own way, introducing the phonograms faster or as needed for words he wants to read. His fluency has picked back up since I realized he just needed to go faster.

I have two kiddos who could read any word they wanted by first grade and comprehension was at least 5 grade levels ahead of their age. Two of my kiddos were pretty much at grade level and could have read anything at grade level but not much more. I had one who couldn't even read Bob books in first grade and then my current first grade who is just a little bit behind grade level, maybe an early first grade level but he's making progress again so there's that.

I don't think there is such thing as "average" when they are little so I can imagine it is nothing less than a huge feat to try and make a nationally normed test for such young kids. They are so all over the board in terms of skill acquisition before about 3rd grade that I would take any test scores with a grain of salt when they are young.

When chocolate chips don't work, that's when we pull out mom's good chocolate like Lindor truffles lol. ;-)

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Oh I totally agree kids just have a huge range by that age, it’s making me mad this state even requires testing this young. I really don’t mind it with older kids but ugh, what a headache.

I do love LoE but like any program we have modified it to suite our needs.  Using it for readers but teaching phonograms at the pace your son requires is totally fine, and I can’t imagine Denise complaining about it either. She purposely made it a very flexible program in terms of repetition and speed. That was part of what impressed me with the program when she was first rolling it out 🙂

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Aaaand we aren’t going to get all of it done today without total burnout, so we are finishing language after lunch and doing the math sections tomorrow, which throws off my schedule for the older three kids 😒

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28 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

Oh I totally agree kids just have a huge range by that age, it’s making me mad this state even requires testing this young. I really don’t mind it with older kids but ugh, what a headache.

I do love LoE but like any program we have modified it to suite our needs.  Using it for readers but teaching phonograms at the pace your son requires is totally fine, and I can’t imagine Denise complaining about it either. She purposely made it a very flexible program in terms of repetition and speed. That was part of what impressed me with the program when she was first rolling it out 🙂

Well, you don't "have" to test.  I do a portfolio for my kids.  I send some samples of work, some pics, some descriptions of what we did to a certified teacher and she sends me back a letter saying the kids have made progress, and I submit that to the superintendent.  I found the portfolio process super easy, once I had navigated it.  

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We just did the Iowa test for my 2nd grader (will be 8 next month). I remember some sections I had to read to him and some sections he read himself. I don't remember there being any vocabulary in the 2nd grade test that was too difficult. Maybe it's just that 1st graders are so variable with reading levels, that they aim high in order to catch everyone? He did the CogAt the same week, so we scheduled it M/T for CoGat and W/Th/F for the Iowa. DS10 took them the next week online, M/T/W.

FWIW, this was the first time he had ever taken a test or filled in bubbles. I had to go back and fix lots of bubbles for him (he's a lefty and it was messy). The main issue that he had was that he would not go through and read all the answers, he would stop at the first answer that sounded correct. 

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Does the state require a certain level of achievement in first grade? We've lived places that required testing but it didn't matter what the scores were. We just had to sit the test. So I told my kids when they were young to just try their best and if they don't understand something or can't read it when they are required to read it, just skip it or make a guess. But try your best on as many as you can. I would also tell them it isn't the kind of test you pass or fail, it just shows what I have taught you and what I haven't so some of the parts and questions are not going to be anything you know because we haven't learned it yet and that's ok. Just take a good guess and move on because there might be other questions later on that you do know and you want to make sure you get to all the questions you can.

I know some kids stress out over it no matter what, especially girls for some reason, but I hope you can celebrate later this week maybe with a bbq using the leftover bits of the test that you don't need as kindling, lol. :-)

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On 3/17/2020 at 1:16 AM, ElizabethB said:

It may be based on sight words, not phonics?

There were certainly some, like you, one, two.  But longer words too, like expensive and continue, which are just too tough for her to sound out even though she actually has been taught phonetic rules to decode them.  More than two syllables she can decode but not blend together and hold enough in her working memory to comprehend the meaning (without losing the thread of the previous things read).

We did finally get done but it was brutal. Like hours and hours of torture brutal.  

 

@happysmileylady I detest portfolios with a burning passion and all my older kids test very well. If she continues to struggle next year with the test we will consider it. But the listening and math computation sections went swimmingly, so I’m thinking the issue is the volume and complexity of what they were supposed to read.

 

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