Preparing for Success
- Grades: 3–5
- Unit Plan:
- Develop an understanding of the test and its purpose
- Apply strategies learned in class to formal assessments
- Increase knowledge of time management skills during assessments
- View the annual standardized test as "just another test"
- Emulate their teacher's positive attitude toward the test
- Create their own "formal assessments" for a partner
Text to come.
Set Up and Prepare
Create a positive mindset for yourself and your students towards the testing process. Show confidence in your teaching and your students' ability to master the test! It will rub off on your students. Understand that one test is not your curriculum and results do not always show the progress that has been made. Standardized testing has become a reality in modern education and doesn't seem to be going anywhere soon, so make the best of it and work towards getting the best results from your students.
Using some of the strategies and tips below, you can plan a program that will prepare your students for taking any test, any time. If you think it's too late and you didn't begin preparing your students early enough, don't despair. Many of my suggestions are simply good teaching practices that you probably have already been doing, but just may need to be reinforced with your students before the test. Our state tests in Michigan will be moving to early October next year so I won't have a long time to teach test taking strategies. However, I still have confidence that my students will be prepared for success!
Supporting All Learners
- Before the test, find out what accommodations need to be made for students who receive special services. Will they take the test in your classroom or in a resource room? Should they receive special directions or consideration with regards to time?
- On a timed test, be sensitive toward the needs of those students who have difficulty staying focused. Walk around the room monitoring while students are taking the test. Gently touch a student on the shoulder to help them refocus attention on the test if necessary.
- Remember standardized tests are geared directly toward the verbal-linguistic learners. Go over directions thoroughly to make sure everyone understands what to do. Never begin unless you are positive all of your learners know what to do.
After the testing results come in, evaluate them.
- Did your scores rise, fall, or stay the same in the subtests from the previous year?
- Were there any identifiable trends or patterns you could use to alter your curriculum or instruction?
- Did students use their reading strategies to find different types of comprehension answers?
- Were all questions answered?
- Which math and language art strands were the strongest, weakest?
- If you have cognitive scores available in addition to achievement scores, compare them. Did students achieve above, below, or at their expected capacities?
- What do you plan to do differently to increase skills?
Don't worry, the city, county, or state will do that for you!