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MASTERING THE PSSA GRADE 4 SCIENCE TEST

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Pennsylvania's challenging new fourth-grade science test will assesses your students' mastery of the nature of science, the biological sciences, the physical sciences, and Earth and space sciences. It covers 23 assessment anchors with 63 eligible content standards. Students will be asked to recall and apply concepts from all these branches of science with a special emphasis on the nature of science and scientific investigation.

Mastering the PSSA Grade 4 Science Test will help your students successfully achieve a synthesis of all of these diverse topics and transfer what they know into higher test scores.

The book is student friendly and easy to use for both students and teachers. It makes use of the latest educational research, including the recommendations of the National Research Council in How People Learn, to help your students really understand and apply major science concepts.

The book includes an introductory unit, five content units, and a complete practice final test. Here is how each of part of the book will help your students master the PSSA Grade 4 Science Test:

  • The introductory unit presents the different types of multiple-choice and short answer questions on the PSSA Test.
  • Students are presented with the unique "E-R-A" approach for answering any multiple-choice question found on the PSSA Science Test: Examine the question; Recall what they know; and then Apply what they know.
  • Students are also given instruction on how to prepare responses to short-answer questions. They learn about the various "action words" used in PSSA short-answer questions. They then examine and evaluate sample student responses. Finally, students read detailed explanations explaining why each student received that score.
  • The main part of the book presents a complete refresher course of all the content knowledge and skills tested on the PSSA Grade 4 Science Test. Content lessons are carefully crafted to help students assimilate and review essential information in a concise but insightful manner.

Mastering the PSSA Science Grade 4 Test places special emphasis on the Nature of Science and Scientific Investigation units. Questions focusing on these content areas comprise half of the PSSA test.

Based on the latest research, each content lesson in the book follows a similar pattern of organization to maximize student learning:

  • Important Ideas. This is an advance organizer that introduces the student to the key concepts that will be explored in each lesson.
  • Content Sections. The lesson is then divided into several shorter content sections based on related concepts, with plentiful examples, diagrams, and illustrations.
  • Applying What You Have Learned. Student activities appear after each major concept for reinforcement and hands-on student application.
  • What You Should Know. A summary box at the end of each lesson reinforces key concepts and helps students monitor their own progress.
  • Lesson Study Cards. Study Cards help students review the most important terms and concepts in that lesson.
  • Checking Your Understanding. These provide PSSA-style practice questions, each identified by its specific assessment anchor and eligible content standard.

Each content unit concludes with additional features to help students review what they have learned, further reinforcing assimilation and recall.

A Testing Your Understanding section provides additional practice questions taken from all the lessons in that unit. These questions reflect the style and the level of difficulty students will find on the actual test.

  • A Concept Map shows students how all of the concepts and their supporting details in the unit are related.
  • A Checklist of Eligible Content lists all of the unit's eligible content standards, providing students with yet another opportunity to self-monitor their mastery of that branch of science.
  • A final unit provides a complete practice test, mirroring the distribution of questions and the level of difficulty found on the actual PSSA Grade 4 Science Test.
  • This final practice test allows students to practice what they have learned and to pinpoint their weaknesses, providing a valuable tool to help you evaluate where your students may still need more help.
  • Each question is identified by its assessment anchor and eligible content standard.
  • The experience of taking this practice test will boost your students' confidence and give them greater familiarity with the test format.

Educational research has repeatedly shown that one of the keys to student success on an assessment is familiarity with the test format. A separate practice test with explanatory answers is available in class sets of 30 for only $50. The distribution of questions and level of difficulty on this practice test is similar in every way to that of the real PSSA. This practice test can be used as a final benchmark test, as a supplement to Mastering the PSSA Grade 4 Science Test, or as an independent teaching tool.


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