Sunday, November 21, 2010

Instruction to Diagnostic

I've mentioned ORQs previously when discussing my use of a check list to improve ORQ scores. This year, they made a district change in how English teachers teach ORQs. Previously, we were given what was called an "Instructional ORQ". This ORQ was very similar to the actual ORQ and it was meant to instruct students on how to answer the actual ORQ. I'm not sure exactly how we were supposed to use them. We're pretty much given a huge binder of resources without much direction on how to use them. However, I was told at my school to answer the Instructional ORQ as a class. You end up literally teaching the kids the answer. Whether they retain it or not was kind of hit or miss.

This year, they introduced the "Diagnostic ORQ" instead of the Instructional ORQ. ORQs are given at the end of every six weeks. The Diagnostic ORQ is given at the three week mark. It's still very similar to the actual ORQ. Now, instead of using it to teach students how to answer the question, I give it like a real test. Based on their scores, I can adjust lessons for the next couple weeks to make up for any gaps in instruction. It makes so much more sense. Why teach kids how to answer a question? Why not teach them the missing skills so that they learn how to answer the question on their own?

I love when the district admits when things need to change. I love even more when they make those changes and they have positive effects in my classroom.

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