Every time the district’s periodic assessments come around again, I always get so stressed out. I am reminded by these tests that my classes are way behind according to the district’s plan for what needs to be taught and when.
Part of the problem is that I have not been able to make up for the lost three to four weeks at the beginning of the school year. I constantly feel like if I just had another few weeks, we would be able to handle these periodic assessments easily. The other part of the “problem” is that I refuse to rush through material without giving my students lots and lots of chances to understand it and become proficient. I find my students need lots of time and lots of practice–that’s the way it should be with really learning something deeply, I feel.
Instead, I always feel a mad rush to cram students’ heads with facts. For example, I haven’t gotten to the quadratic formula in my Algebra 1 class. The CPM curriculum does not get to this until the very end, but the district’s periodic assessments don’t jive with the CPM curriculum’s pacing. What should I do? Should I just tell my students to memorize an arbitrary formula and use it? Or should I just tell them that the test will cover things that they don’t know yet and to skip them?