Saturday, July 13, 2013

"Beating Them All" Mostly Hype. Create Your Own Study Plan!

Beating Them All! Thirty Days to a Magic Score on Any Elementary Literacy Instruction Exam for Teacher CertificationBeating Them All! Thirty Days to a Magic Score on Any Elementary Literacy Instruction Exam for Teacher Certification by Chris Nicholas Boosalis
My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I briefly referenced most of the book, but read all of Chaper Two: Magic Content. In addition to my review below, I was surprised at the number of editing errors or omissions, and surprised to see that Pearson published this.  Shabby editing.

First of all, the idea of "magically" getting a good score on a test is appealing, but stupid.  I know that idea was in the title, but I didn't realize the Boosalis would continue to throw that in there.  I suppose it was supposed to boost my confidence, but all it did was make me feel like I was reading an infomercial.

In fact, precious space (and study time, had I read the whole book) was used often to explain how valuable, well-organized and extremely essential everything in the book was.  I tired of these mini marketing statements when I know exactly why I bought this book:  To dig into basic concepts of reading assessment and instruction at the elementary levels that I don't encounter regularly as a high school teacher. Unfortunately, I only really found that info. in one chapter.

I suppose that Chapter 2 was useful in the sense that it reassured me that my internet search for resources was actually well on the right track, and that had I known this book was so much about test strategies and so little about actual content, I could have prepared just as well by spending more time with the resources I found online.  You can peruse my list of resources on my blog without paying 28.99: http://amethysthintonsainz.blogspot.c....  Also, it did conceptually help me to create a schema for some of the information that I found online, and I think that will be helpful.

The other chapters were all about testing strategy. I feel very confident about my essay writing skills, and my ability to study for and pass a multiple choice exam.  I suppose that if I felt less competent in these areas, the rest of the book would have been more useful.  To Boosalis' credit, the tables and charts at the end of the book do provide good structures for creating a study guide to the material, and some people might benefit from that. The problem is that it wasn't really comprehensive, and so something like an electronic file or flashcard set that can be added onto is more useful for me.

If you have huge test anxiety or are not a quick or organized student, this book would be more useful.  If you are looking for an overview of essential issues, there are just as useful ways to go for less money.

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