The best ways to boost students' standardized test scores
With the implementation of the Common Core State Standards in 44 states, standardized testing is becoming more and more prevalent in monitoring student progress. While some students breeze through tests, others aren't strong test takers and may need a bit more guidance in order to achieve success. In order to prepare students with the skills they need for standardized testing, teachers must implement certain strategies. Here are a few methods that have been proven to develop skills that come in handy for test time:
Consistently monitor student progress
In order to see where students are struggling, it's important to keep an eye on their day-to-day progress in the classroom. In today's digital world, there are computer programs that provide an individualized learning experience and even provide teachers with reports on each student's progress. This makes it easy to see where the majority of the class needs more work and where they are excelling.
Boost reading comprehension by going over question types
Students suffering from text anxiety often benefit from knowing question types prior to taking a standardized test. According to Scholastic, "right there" questions ask students to examine an accompanying passage to find the answer. Then there are "think and search" questions, for which the answer is usually located in more than one place. Finally, there are the "author and you" questions, which require students to apply what they already know. Go through each type of question with students multiple times and provide examples.
Incorporate word problems into everyday curricula
Word problems involving math often appear frequently on standardized tests. These may be more difficult for students to understand, because it often isn't clear what formula or strategy to use. Scholastic recommended familiarizing students with this type of problem by giving them samples from old tests. Incorporate word problems into everyday learning so they develop successful methods.
Use practice tests
Practice tests can help prepare students for the specific skills they are going to need to take the test. Calgary Academy in Alberta, Canada, provides teachers with copies of previous exams to use with students. However, they don't focus on what's on the test, so much as the strategies involved in the test taking.
"We focus more on the process skills behind the tests than on the tests themselves," explained principal Kim McLean.
As long as students learn how to answer certain questions, they can take on any material the test throws at them.