**“Correct answers are essential… but they’re part of the process, they’re not the product. The product is the math the kids walk away with in their heads…” – Phil Daro, co-author of CCSM**

SBAC (or CAASPP, if you prefer) and how to prep for it while keeping the focus on learning and the stress level low.

So how *do* we know what students have in their heads? One formative assessment approach is to use the SBAC practice questions-my CPM students tackle them with aplomb, and enjoy seeing the answer keys and details behind each one. I learn as much as they do as we take each one apart and see what makes it tick.

Common Core has a deliberate sequence of skills that follow from 6^{th} to 7^{th} to 8^{th} grade. We can see a little of the sequence in the practice problems below from SBAC. If we look at the computerized assessments as a video game, then students can” level up” each year. (See the progressions here: fascinating, and not light going-you may need a glass of wine!

https://www.illustrativemathematics.org/progressions)

One low impact way to teach the curriculum and prep kids for the test can be paper & pencil warm ups such as these, taken from the practice problem sets.

The following 3 practice questions are my attempt to show a progression from the SBAC. Links are provided for easy access.

##### Grab paper & pencil and actually solve these 3 problems- you’ll learn a lot

- 6
^{th}grade Expressions & Equations DOK 21…will you find them**all**?

(http://www.caaspp.org/rsc/resources/2015_Grade6Math.pdf)

Note: Multiple choice has not gone away, but it is in a new form, how many “8t+34”s will 6^{th} graders find? They can mark them all 🙂

- 7
^{th}grade Expressions & Equations DOK 2; Part B looks evil but has an easy out…

(http://www.caaspp.org/rsc/resources/2015_Grade7Math.pdf)

Part B Note: ½ (anything)=7, the “anything” has to be 14…see the shortcut? (c+6) has to =14J. The advantage of CCSM is that kids get to explore the cool alternative methods to solve!

- 8
^{th}grade Expressions & Equations DOK 2; who actually*reads*the directions these days?

(http://www.caaspp.org/rsc/resources/2015_Grade8Math.pdf)

Note: (I could do this all day!) The temptation is to skip the directions and zoom to a fast, wrong answer…4x+2, right? Kids definitely need to learn to READ, even in math class! Oh, “no solution” you say? Now the DOK 2 makes a little more sense. *4x + anything but 2 *is the correct answer on this one.

**Time for a huge parenthetical note (I have a big parenthetical note addiction):**

Did you notice the Depth of Knowledge (DOK) level? My 8^{th} graders are very interested in DOK now, and they critique many class problems as to level.

Not all educators are crazy about this graphic, but it does for a start- a good 4 minute video is at http://schools.nyc.gov/Academics/CommonCoreLibrary/ProfessionalLearning/DOK/default.htm

If you want to nerd out further on DOK, http://svesd.net/files/DOK_Question_Stems.pdf is a good place to start.) (End of parentheses!…For now.)

**To wrap up for February:** Over several months, I have seen students learn a lot about content *and* format from using the SBAC practice problems as warm ups one problem at a time. They are easy to correlate to the lessons we have done through out the year, and offer a low stress method to set each student up for a comfortable and familiar feeling during testing. You can contact me at bethbaker52@gmail.com to further this discussion and offer any tips you have for using SBAC to implement or support the CCSMJ

**Next month: Cooperative learning and why it’s worth it.**