M-STEP is almost here! Are you preparing your students?
Information about the M-STEP has been pouring in over the last two months. Questions about the mathematics portions of the assessment are being answered and we now have a direction to help our students. I will try to clarify some pieces and answer some of the big questions that I been receiving as of late.
Below you will find information on: Online Test Questions, Classroom Activity and Performance Task, and Calculators with M-STEP.
Online Testing Portion
This portion is where the students will answer a series of questions that are multiple choice, selected response, short constructed response and extended constructed response. There will be calculators on the toolbar that they can use on certain portions. See further below for calculator information.
Multiple Choice is not much different than we are use to seeing but there is more of a focus on conceptual understanding than just providing an answer. Expect to see questions that are procedural and computational base but also expect questions that are asking for reasoning and thought processes.
Selected Response is a form of multiple choice but could have more than 1 "bubble" marked. The even trickier part is that there could be a question that having nothing selected for a portion of it would be correct as well. This is new to most students and should be practiced. Expect to see questions that say "Select all that apply" or "Yes or No" style questions. There are also grid style questions where you have to check multiple properties that satisfy the situation.
Short and Extended Constructive Response is a new piece as well to the state-wide assessment. Some students may have seen these for a math test in the past. The short responses seem to be focused on a computational response by having the students produce a number. These short responses may have the student fill in the blanks in a table as well. Extended responses are question that have them describe or justify explanations. The focus of the questions are less on the computational answers and more on the justification. Practice having students writing their thought processes out and justifying solutions on paper to help prepare.
Classroom Activity and Performance Task
The Classroom Activity (CA) is a short, 30-minute scripted lesson presented to students as close as possible, but no more than three days prior to the administration of the Performance Task (PT). It may occur on the same day as the PT. The Classroom Activity is delivered in class by the teacher and is not an online activity. The purpose of the Classroom Activity is to introduce students to the vocabulary and the context of the Performance Task to follow. The Classroom Activity can be recorded as it is delivered (students must be present) to enable absent students to have an experience as close as possible to their classmates’ experience. The Classroom Activity cannot be pre-recorded for presentation to students.
For samples of classroom activities go here. I HIGHLY suggest trying some of these out with your students to get them use to the discussion points and the data collection pieces.
Performance Task is the assessment piece of the classroom activity. Here the students will answer a series of questions based in the realm of the classroom activity. The questions are mostly short response and extended response with more justifying solutions. I good way to practice in the classroom is by having students take data, create tables, and then make claims about the data. Make sure to have them justify their answers as well.
Calculator Use For M-STEP
There has been information about the M-STEP calculator and you can see it from the button below.
Each grade level, except 3rd-5th, have both a calculator portion and a non-calculator portion. There has been a mistake on the test administration papers that says a student with accommodations may use a calculator but it is the exact opposite. NO STUDENT WILL BE USING A CALCULATOR on the 3rd-5th grade assessment. If they do then this is a mis-assessment and will not count. See their language below.
As for the other grades, here are the calculators that will be embedded on the online portion. Take the time to work with the students using the calculator. I would even suggest doing a few assignments/tasks with the students and only allow them to use the calculator from the practice test. All students taking the online test cannot use a hand-held calculator with the exception of those who have an IEP or 504.
Basic Calculator - 6th Grade - This is the most basic calculator out of the three. It has the capability of doing the four basic operations and applying negatives. One piece that it does not do it parenthesis. If you work with scientific calculators, you will want to have students practice with this type of calculator. Mostly because they cannot see their numeric expression they are typing in. Notice there is no "fraction" button so you will have to remind students that a fraction is just the division of two quantities (2/3 is 2 "division sign" 3).
Scientific Calculator - 7th-8th Grade - This calculator has most of the functions that most scientific calculators have. The student will be able to use exponents, parenthesis, square roots, and has Pi. Unlike the basic calculator, the student will be able to see the numeric expression that they enter. Again, there is no "fraction" button so make sure to remind students that a fraction is just the division of two quantities.
Graphing Calculator (& Scientific Calculator) - 11th Grade - This may be the most difficult calculator to navigate at first. Please go over how it works prior to the testing date to eliminate some confusion. The student can submit an equation, only in a "y=" form, and click the graph button. The previous interface will leave and a new interface will appear (Right). This is the graph of their function. The student can trace the graph and change the window size. What does not appear is the tick marks on the axis. You can also enter in multiple functions by hitting next on the 1st interface (Left). PRACTICE WITH YOUR STUDENTS WITH THIS CALCULATOR.