With the beautiful spring weather, comes the not-so-beautiful spring standardized testing. This year, you can approach these tests with more confidence, having prepared your students with all the tools they need to be successful.
Teach students how to locate answers in reading passages.
For literacy tests, students need to be taught how to skim the reading passage for key words that appear in the question. Have students read the question and underline the important words in the question. Then go back to the passage to skim for those key words. Also, explain that most questions will come in the same order as the story; first questions’ answers will likely appear at the beginning of the passage and last questions’ answers will often be found near the end of the text. Practice finding answers to reading comprehension questions by highlighting and numbering the sentence in the text that corresponds to the question it answers. If you create practice questions, be sure to access both literature and informational areas of the Common Core Standards.
Consider factors such as guessing and time limits.
It is important that you know the test you are giving. For example, is the test timed? If so, teach students to plan out how much time to give each question and when it is wise to “make your best guess and move on.” Students also need to know if it is in their best interest to answer even when they don’t know or to leave a question blank. For some tests, there is a wrong answer penalty, but no penalty for leaving an answer blank. If there is no penalty for guessing, teach students how to eliminate obvious wrong answers and make their best guess from the remaining choices.
Teach students to read all of the answer choices before marking an answer.
Students often read answer choices in order and stop reading the choices when they think they have found the correct answer. They need to be taught that there may be two or more answers that appear similar. Reading all of the answer choices and then making a decision can avoid simple errors.
Build confidence in your students.
Finally, keep in mind that research has proven that confidence in oneself matters. Girls will do better in science and math if they see themselves as scientists and mathematicians. Before a standardized test, have your students think of a successful ancestor or relative and write about or discuss what made him or her successful. Seeing real-life success stories builds confidence in students and produces higher scores.
So, how do you prepare your students for spring testing? Share your ideas in the comments section below!
Remember to give yourself and your students time to prepare for standardized tests by following the suggestions above. Be sure that students get plenty of rest and a good breakfast on the day of testing. Throw in a peppermint to enhance memory and increase attention and you’ll be all set! Good luck!