What legal ways can schools amp up their CRCT scores?

During the next few weeks, students from across the state will be bearing down and bubbling in their CRCT answer sheets.

We all know the wrong way to go about improving your school’s scores so what are some ways schools can legitimately improve their scores? Is there anything parents can do to increase their child’s scores?

Here are a few techniques that I have heard to improve performance:

– The classic chewing mint gum while taking the test – mint to help keep you awake, gum is supposed to engage the brain.

– Exercising before school starts – One school has exercise stations set up on the playground for the students to do right before they start taking the test.

– Signing a form stating that your child is getting 10 hours of sleep each night before the test.

– Brain food brought in by parents for snacks before testing begins.

– Working on practice computer programs at home. Our old school really pushed students practicing at home for the test but not so much here. I think I was sent one note about it the whole year.

What other ways are your school trying to improve scores? Are these methods more about motivating students and boosting their confidence than actually increasing scores or does higher confidence lead to better scores?

Teachers and principals out there does the CRCT performance really affect the child or is it more about rating how well the school is doing teaching and how the school is perceived?

Are your kids stressed about taking the CRCT? What do you say to them to help soothe their fears?

27 comments Add your comment

Jeff

April 19th, 2012
6:18 am

There’s no magic answer. If there was, I wouldn’t have had to cheat to get my D in Chemistry.

shaggy

April 19th, 2012
7:20 am

No, we must encourage cheating. It is the only and apparently, largely acceptable way to achieve quota, with quota being compliance and membership to “the group”. The group is safe and less work, because no demands, just party on dude.

We can’t beat them, because that would mean making the kids stop texting until their fingers turn blue, and using the word “like” properly. This would infringe on adult privilege time, Including clubbing, with irrelevant activities like (see, I used “like” for comparison) actually teaching them and being an example in their lives….I know that is a gross, unclean mental image for many “reproductive engines” (can’t really be defined as parents) today.
Yes, we just need to be better at hiding, shifting responsibility, and plausible deniability, so the cheating doesn’t get detected by the enemy….smart people.

A

April 19th, 2012
7:25 am

You either know the material or you don’t. From the practice tests I saw online prior to testing, it’s all material that has been covered during the school year. My son did a bunch of those teacher assigned practice tests, reviewed his papers and notes for each subject and then got a good night’s sleep and went to school ready to go. CRCT finished at his school yesterday, but I just hope they don’t coast for the last month of school and keep up the teaching/learning.

shaggy

April 19th, 2012
7:29 am

Jeff,

I bet that chemistry is THE most cheated on course in history, even more so than algebra…”the ionic resistance X the atomic weight, squared by the root of pi equals the mass of the hydro logic index + 25.12891 ppm = rank stinking material erupting from the beaker and class.school evacuation procedures in effect”

I'll second, and third, that...

April 19th, 2012
8:02 am

…Jeff and Shaggy – and that was over 40 years ago…

Yep, my HS chemistry...

April 19th, 2012
8:02 am

…teacher was so hard that 60 was an A in his class…

catlady

April 19th, 2012
8:05 am

How can schools improve theior scores? Only admit kids whose parents have parented them, rather than ignoring them since conception. economic status, while it seems to be important, is superceeded in importance by having been raised, instead of being allowed to grow up without guidance.

Augusta

April 19th, 2012
8:29 am

It’s just a test. Why stress over it? I refuse to stress over anything, especially testing for my kids. They all test pretty well, and we just don’t get all worked up over things like this….

But I do like the exercise stations. No way am I signing a form that says my child gets 10 hours of sleep…..NONE of us in my house sleep for 10 hours…..

homeschooler

April 19th, 2012
8:58 am

Agree about the 10 hrs. Augusta. And what if I don’t sign the form? That’s just….dumb (couldn’t think of a more articulate word there).

The whole thing just blows my mind. Catlady is right, we go round and round on this issue constantly and the lowest performing schools have noting to do with the teachers it is the families. And I’m not saying that these parents can magically change things either. You have more and more kids who are being raised in homes where there is no additional education or stimulation at home. I’m not talking about parents who drill their kids on educational facts at home or even help them with homework. I’m talking about kids whose dinner time conversation is about world events or who might help dad fix a pipe on a Saturday morning or help mom cook dinner so fractions make sense to them.
Until a particular segment of the community finds out what works for their particular kids nothing is going to change. Little Frank at Riverside Elementary can sit quiet in class and learn all day but he is never going to understand the material like little Carter who goes to Shallowford Falls in East Cobb. Plus Franks teachers have to contend with less parent involvement and more class discipline issues.
And Frank’s parents are reproducing much faster than Carter’s,so someone better start figuring this out.

homeschooler

April 19th, 2012
9:06 am

btw…I cheated in high school chemistry too.

tracey

April 19th, 2012
9:25 am

i think it’s crap that so much time, effort and angst is put out for one test. it doesn’t seem that we are teaching our kids how to problem solve or to create. they aren’t learning anything, but how to take a multiple choice test.

Augusta

April 19th, 2012
9:28 am

I took chemistry in 9th grade. I had fallen off a trampoline, and have to have 3 pins put into my elbow to put it back in place. This was my right arm, and I was in a cast, and a sling. My chemistry teacher FAILED me, because she couldn’t read my hand writing. I had to write with my left hand…..My mom went into the school, had a sit down meeting with the Teacher, the principal, AND ME……once the principal saw I couldn’t use my right hand, he immediately changed my grade to a B-. He saw that I had completed every assignment, did all my homework, but had to do it left handed…..funny thing was, he could read all my hand writing just fine…..

mystery poster

April 19th, 2012
9:40 am

I was lucky my high school had both chemistry AND advanced chemistry, so I took two years of chemistry in high school. It was my favorite science :-)
My college professor had a labcoat with his name and a number on the back (like a sports jersey). Cracked me up!

To the topic at hand: nothing. Although I am a firm believer in exercise, breakfast, plenty of sleep, etc, none of those things will make up for not knowing the material.

Me

April 19th, 2012
9:47 am

Is the test comprised of material that the students should know? Are the teachers actually teaching and the parents actually parenting? If so, then none of these techniques are necessary. 10 hours of sleep a night?? Seriously? I don’t know a single income-earning responsible person that routinely gets 10 hours of sleep a night. I’m fortunate when I achieve 5-6 hours. And, what exactly, is “brain food”?? The brain lives on oxygen and sugar. Imagine what would occur if only we had responsible parents rearing responsible children who then mature into responsible adults themselves to then continue the cycle.

TXMom

April 19th, 2012
9:53 am

First and foremost, the kids have to know the material. If they don’t know it, no amount of exercise, sleep, or eating right is going to make those answers magically appear on the test.

HOWEVER, as someone who suffered from “test anxiety” as a child (I literally used to break out in hives prior to big exams, even though I was a straight-A student and graduated 9th in my class of 500+ my senior year), I can see where things like exercise right before the test might clear the mind and make a child who might ordinarily be freaking out over the test calmer and able to concentrate.

DB

April 19th, 2012
10:13 am

If the schools emphasized the exercise and sleep habits during the 8 months BEFORE the test, then maybe the kids would find it easier to learn the material during the year. Emphasizing the test for young children is nuts. I have to admit, I prefer my kids’ school attiude: we’re having a standardized test (they didn’t use the CRCT), it’s a way for us to measure how well we are delivering material to the students and to highlight areas we need to improve in. It wasn’t “if you don’t do well on this test, you’re letting down all your ancestors and descendents!” If everyone in a particular area didn’t do well on a particular math issue, for example, the school took it as an indicator that the school hadn’t delivered the information in a way that the students understood.

iggy

April 19th, 2012
10:17 am

If we reinstate Bev “cupcake” Hall then everyone will receive a passing grade. But more importantly Ms Hall can receive her bonus!!

motherjanegoose

April 19th, 2012
10:32 am

I am not a science person but I got an B in HS Chemistry…no cheating involved.Not sure how I managed. Never took it in college and from what I hear from my two…it is a cut class at UGA…no you do not cut the class…you are typically cut out of your planned major as you cannot pass it. My son did and my daughter switched to a different major. It has been recommended to take AP Chemistry in HS and then take Freshman Chemistry in college….in case anyone wants to know. ( son did daughter did not).

I agree with catlady and homeschooler. I do believe that, in general, more teachers are teaching than parents who are properly parenting. I know some teachers are not doing their jobs but not as many parents IMHO.

YES DB…if many of the kids did not do well on a test…it would seem logical that the teacher did not teach the material correctly. At least that is what I went with when I taught and we would go back over what they missed. This seems obvious!

Spending hours each week with children and teachers is eye opening, to me.

JOD

April 19th, 2012
12:04 pm

There is definitely no faking the funk – if they don’t know the material, there is no way to improve scores.

Good sleep and eating habits help, but not just for the test. I approve of anything that gets kids moving at school (and otherwise) today, so the exercise gets 2 thumbs up. It might be helpful for younger kids who aren’t used to standardized tests to take a practice version, but really, how does a computer program teach a kid to fully bubble the correct answer and to completely erase any mistakes?

K's mom

April 19th, 2012
12:09 pm

My husband was at a high end Preschool yesterday for a work event and the director told him she was considering leaving because the parents were nuts. Lack of parenting is not just a low socio-economic phenomenon these days. The burbs have friend-parents who never want to do anything to hurt thier child’s feelings and that is showing up in schools across the country through grade inflation (which I truly believe is rampant in this area based on conversations I have had with college administrators).

I think having healthy snacks and exercise and maybe even outside breaks are a start, but parenting has got to commence in all neighborhoods and do not for a minute believe that just because someone is a room mom or PTA parent means that they actively parent their child….

Denise

April 19th, 2012
12:14 pm

Theresa my post disappeared.

Enlightened

April 19th, 2012
1:24 pm

Actually teach in a manner that actually educates? No, that would violate the principles of government run education and would run counter to its intended purpose of dumbing down the electorate.

lakerat

April 19th, 2012
1:44 pm

My son thought he was pretty smart in “sciences” and that he had had a really good chemistry teacher in HS – when he got to UGA he told us that he learned “real fast” just how much he had not been taught in HS chemistry when he took his first college chemistry class.

Next, he said he wanted to be a MD, so we told him, as I have said on here before, that that was a great goal but that we would talk about it realistically AFTER he had taken Organic Chemistry as that is the “weeder out” course for pre-med students.

Fortunately, he passed O-Chem and is now set to graduate from med school in June – he will be starting his Residency in emergency medicine in July, so all is well that ends well.

DB

April 19th, 2012
9:21 pm

@lakerat: Congratulations to your son! It’s wonderful when you can see your child’s dreams come true. I took honors general chemistry, analytic and organic when I was an undergrad. When it came time to sign up for polymer and electroanalytical, I suddenly realized how much I truly, deeply and sincerely despised chemistry. Luckily, I had been doing a double-major, so I dropped chemistry, picked up statistics, and ended up with a double major in stats and organization psychology. Anyone making it all the way through college chemistry without turning into a raving lunatic definitely has some serious brainpower!

motherjanegoose

April 20th, 2012
12:33 am

Congrats lakerat! Yes OChem is a nightmare and my son too survived it a UGA. We know of kids who did not. I know you are proud and it is great when you see your kids meet their goals!

FCM

April 20th, 2012
10:07 am

Remove the stupid test already…..Stop using to support AYP and remove the attendance issue too.

Anon

April 20th, 2012
5:59 pm

so FCM, you don’t want your kids tested? And you don’t want them to be “forced” to regularly attend school? Awesome. Why don’t you just homeschool or unschool? I’m sure your girls are particularly geniuses.