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Improving standardized test scores through planning

The table below shows the distribution of items on the 2001 fourth-grade MEAP test by mathematical strand.

Strand

Percent of questions on test

Patterns, relationships, and functions

15%

Geometry and measurement

25%

Data analysis and statistics

20%

Number sense and numeration

20%

Numerical and algebraic operations

15%

Probability and discrete mathematics

5%

Nearly half the items on the test come from the areas of geometry, measurement, data analysis and statistics. However, these are often precisely the mathematical strands that get short-changed in terms of teaching time.

Try comparing the amount of time devoted to each of these strands in your yearly plan to the percentages listed here.

(If you do not have a yearly plan, you can go to the Yearly planning section of the site to see ideas for making one.)

Questions to consider:

  • Does the emphasis you put on each of the mathematical strands roughly match the emphasis in the table above? (What do you spend the most time teaching? The least time? Does that make sense in light of the emphasis on the MEAP?)
  • How might you modify your yearly plan to emphasize under-represented strands?
  • Are there daily or weekly routines (such as group problem solving, mental math or daily reviews) that you could use to make under-represented strands more prominent?
  • Do you understand the mathematics involved in each strand? If not, reviewing your Grade Level Content Expectations might help.