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# FAQ

## Combination Trains

Question

I made an observation. The student seems to catch on to the types of questions being asked and is therefore ready to answer the questions quickly. So for example, while I am entering the information to the question, “How many blue cubes?” it seems to me that he is able to count the yellow ones so that he can quickly tell me the answer. I am not positive that he counted (as that can be done quickly and quietly in his head), but it does seem as something that can happen. I have also noticed that same thing on other assessments. For example, in the Hiding Assessment, while I am asking how many are hiding, it seems that some of the students are doing the math in their head and then can give me a quick response. As I said before, I am not sure if that is what they are doing, but it does seem to be a way of "cheating" the test. Just wondering if you have addressed this problem before and what I should do?

Answer

from Kathy Richardson

It is good to be aware of what the children are doing to get an answer. Body language and the length of pauses give you some important information that you can't get by just listening for the answer. If you suspect a child is counting, ask, "How did you think about it?" If the children know you are truly interested in what they actually did, they will tell you. If they say something like, "I just knew," but you don't think that is true, I would again say, "How did you think about that?" The critical factor here is that the child knows that you want to know how they did it - even if they counted.

In a truly safe environment, is not necessary for them to hide what they did. They may need some reassurance that however they got their answer is okay. You just want to know what they did.