448050911201448 5 Terrific Tips to Prepare for the 5th Grade CAST Test Starting Now! | Polka Dots and Protons - Interactive Science Notebooks & More

My goal is to make interactive science notebooks engaging for 5th grade and middle school science students while improving science test scores. NGSS expert, teacher, tpt author, mom, & widow

5 Terrific Tips to Prepare for the 5th Grade CAST Test Starting Now!

My students rocked the 5th grade CAST test. I am so proud of them. As I relate tips, I speak from real life classroom experience and success. We are a small, public school and my class average was in the green, Standard Met area. This was my first year teaching 5th grade. Did I mention that this was during the pandemic too? The odds were stacked against us but these students performed leagues above the state average. (Note: I was an elementary science specialist and middle school science teacher before being a 5th grade teacher.)

What is the CAST test and how do I prepare my students?

What is the CAST?

1. The CAST test is the California Science Test given to students in grades 5, 8, and high school. Scores from the test in Spring 2021 have been sent to students. Parents learn if their student met the science standard score of  214 or higher. The average score of 5th graders across the state was 201.

How do I prepare my students for the CAST test?

I am excited to say that my students did AWESOME on the CAST test! Our class average was in the Standard Met range!!!! This is a hard test. In the spring, the math CAASP was much shorter than other years but the science test was the usual length. 

Here are some tips for preparing students for the CAST test:

1. Duration: Teach science two or three times each week. I do three days of science and two days of social studies usually. I love social studies too and some weeks we do three days of social studies.

2. Engagement: Is doesn't have to be super hard but it needs to be really engaging. I love Mystery Science. Mystery Science is NGSS aligned but not state adopted. I love all of the writing kids do about the topics with Mystery Science. I also use Sketch Notes I have created. Here is a link to my 5th grade sketch notes bundle.

Link Here to see in my TPT store

3. Writing: Have students write about what they have learned. Writing gives students an opportunity to put their learning into their own words and practice the vocabulary they learned. I do a lot of modeling the writing. I like to pose a question like: Where do leaves go? or How do plants make their own food? If you want to learn more about CER writing in science check out this resource in my TPT store HERE. I also have a blog post about it HERE. I love the Mystery Science assessments that include writing.

4. Practice Test: Be sure to do the practice test offered by CAASP. The test in difficult and the format is something you want to practice with your students. Learn more HERE. Take a few days and do the practice test. Don't rush it. 

5. Games: I have a couple of favorite games I have purchased on TPT. These games are so fun along with being great test prep. I loved the Bazinga game in the Benchmark Test Review game. Kids choose cards and have to act out things like singing "I'm a Little Teapot." It keeps the mood light while studying for a challening test. I also love Up and Around Games which I have in the 5th grade bundle. I have made a couple and will add more as I create them. 

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