Thursday, March 8, 2012

Communication Matters - M.A.P. Test

Communication Matters

I sent this e-mail to parents today. Feel free to use or modify to fit the needs of your class. :-)
My e-mails to parents are typically brief. I know this is wordy, but M.A.P. is such a high-stakes test, I wanted to fully communiate my thoughts. :)

When we return from spring break, we will be in full M.A.P. review. My philosophy on the M.A.P. test is that it’s my responsibility to prepare students for the test. I’ve been doing that since the first day of school. With that being said, I’ve taught the written curriculum – I haven’t taught ‘to the test,’ but in teaching the written curriculum, students should be ready for the test. There shouldn’t be any objectives on the test your child hasn’t learned in school.

I asked students this week how many times they’ve heard me mention the M.A.P. test. Their reply was, “A few times. Hardly ever.” I told them I’ll be talking about it a lot in the next few weeks, but I don’t want them worrying about it. I’ve taught everything in the curriculum for math and reading – the two areas we’re testing. I also told them that while I haven’t talked it about it that much, I’ve prepared them for it since day one. Their responsibility is to simply do their best.

As you know, this is a high-stakes test for the district. I’ve told students it’s one measure of their performance – that I already know they’re proficient or advanced, and I’m expecting their scores to confirm what I already know. I think they need to know the test is important and that it helps me assess how well I’ve been teaching as well as how well they’ve been learning.
I could use your help ‘behind the scenes.’ Please ensure that your child is getting enough sleep and is eating healthy foods. The brain needs sleep to recharge – research says around 10 hours for children.

• Too much sleep isn’t good for the brain and too little sleep isn’t good either.

• If you’re not getting at least SEVEN hours, as adults, your brain isn’t working to its optimal potential either.

Research also indicates that one of the best things we can do for students is to offer them hope – let them know we believe in them and that we think they’re smart. I know you do this already, but if you can simply tell your child how smart he/she is, it’ll help more than you know. I also tell students they can score Advanced if they miss a few problems on the test – that M.A.P. doesn’t expect perfection.
I’m taking the time to send this lengthy e-mail to ask you to partner with me in de-stressing students while keeping high expectations. I want my students to have an, “I can do it attitude.” I appreciate your help.

Thanks for being great parents! I can’t believe the year is almost over.

Have a wonderful spring break!

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