When Alex Martin, lead teacher at Malcolm C. Hursey Montessori School in North Charleston, South Carolina, first learned about the new auto-pause feature in MAP® Growth™, he was excited.
“We know it’s very important to get a true and accurate score,” he explains. “If a student is disengaging, we want to know that early.”
That’s why MAP Growth pauses when it detects a student is rapid guessing—and while there’s still time to salvage the testing event. Slow Down Sloth appears on the screen to encourage students not to rush. It’s also inspired Alex to up his proctoring game and to cheer his students on with a mascot, a toy sloth named Sammy.
The MAP Growth proctor console gives Alex ongoing information about how students are testing and warns him about any students who may not be doing their best. That’s when he springs into action.
“I’ll go speak to that student. I’ll say, ‘Hey, is everything okay? You know, I’m really proud of you for taking your time. Let me know if there’s anything I can do.’”
Depending on their response, he works with each student to determine if they can continue testing.
A big part of being able to help students while they test is knowing them well.”
“It really just depends on what feeling I’m getting from that student,” he says. “If they look really tired, I might send them to get a water and just walk. And if they still don’t look like they have it, I’ll pause them for the day and try to get them on a new day.”
The power of knowing
A big part of being able to help students while they test is knowing them well, so Alex also recruits homeroom teachers to participate in proctoring.
“We’re very personal here. We’re a Montessori school,” he says. “The students are with their homeroom teacher for three years in a row.”
Relationship building is truly critical at the school, Alex goes on to explain: “I think a lot of our successes in testing come from building the relationship with those kids: knowing their tendencies, seeing their behaviors in context, and not forcing a student to continue or even to take a test if they’re not in the right mindset. The student engagement feature truly helps us do all of that.”
Slow and steady wins on assessment day
Alex has also taken his approach a step further by taking Slow Down Sloth off the computer screen and into the classroom. A stuffed animal sloth named Sammy keeps students company while they take their test—and serves as a friendly and constant reminder to take their time.
The idea for Sammy popped into Alex’s head the first time a student was prompted to slow down by MAP Growth.
“When the first student got it, you could just see the eyes go to that student’s computer, like ‘Oh, man. Mr. Martin was right. It will pause!’ So that got the whispers up,” he says. “I found the stuffed sloth, a construction type outfit, and then I made his sign. And now we have Sammy, the Slow Down Sloth.”
A stuffed animal sloth named Sammy keeps students company while they take their test—and serves as a friendly and constant reminder to take their time.”
One of Alex’s fifth graders, Victoria, appreciates being encouraged to take her time.
“I always have to write the problem and all the facts down. That helps me,” she says.
Not rushing paid off: although testing took longer for Victoria this year, she achieved the highest RIT score for math both in her grade and across the entire school.
“That made me very, very, very happy,” she says.
Less retesting means success
As a result of efforts during this fall’s testing, Alex and his colleagues had fewer students need to retest—and more students recognizing the benefits of taking their time. Sammy will continue to cheer on students when winter testing rolls around and beyond.