Most people don’t love to take tests. So when Mrs. Cassie Earl, FHS Math teacher, decided to take one voluntarily, it got noticed! Mrs. Earl recognized a need to support students with the math portion of the TSI, an assessment taken in the 10th grade that, among other things, determines whether a student can take Dual Credit courses or participate in Alamo Academies programs. “Last year students expressed how frustrating the test was because it didn’t seem to be aligned to Geometry, the current math course associated with 10thgraders. The TSI wasn’t around when I was in school, so I was unfamiliar with what it contained,” explained Earl.
So, she took the math portion of the test, and discovered some interesting things she could do to help students feel more prepared for this college level test. First, students don’t get to use a graphing calculator or a formula sheet, things that are used for other types of testing. Now, she’s incorporated a TSI practice problem every day, without the use of a calculator! She’s also incorporated a review of Algebra concepts in her Geometry class, because students need to remember the previous year’s work to be successful.
“We have brilliant students at FHS, but we weren’t preparing them for this kind of test,” said a passionate Earl. With the adjustments she’s made and what she’s learned, she wants to see marked improvement. “My goal is to see a 20% increase in student performance this year with numbers rising in the future.”
Thank you, Mrs. Earl for being willing to take a risk to improve student instruction, outcomes and their college-readiness.