Top 7 Things To Do To Prepare Your Students For The Standardized Test
I detest standardized tests, or testing in general at most age groups, but this is not about what i like and dislike. This is about an educator keeping his or her job in the face of a system who holds test scores as the highest accomplishment. I will share some things that are helpful for one reason only...getting students to pass the state test. I tip my hat to those who don't fear their job; to those who continue to teach awesome/fun lessons even with the state test hanging over their head
1) Starting in April, divide your students into four groups "fail, likely fail, likely pass and pass". More than likely, out of 100 students, 60-70% of your kids will fall into one of the middle groups.
2) Using your list you created, find time either in study hall, at the end of class, beginning of class, after school, etc, to work with the middle group to target these students. 80% of your effort should be concentrated toward the middle group.
3) Create a fact sheet listing key definitions, key diagrams or key ideas that all students must remember (10-20 ideas). Create space on the sheet that allows you to offer feedback.
4) Type up a formal letter to parents asking for their daily help in quizzing the information in the fact sheet (from step two) to their child. Send the letter home, with a copy of the fact sheet to each parent (also, send the sheet home with the students to give to their parents). After two weeks call each students' parents in the middle group and ask if they received the letter in the mail, asking how they were doing and if they need any additional help
5) Once you've finished introducing all material for the fourth quarter and begin reviewing material from the beginning of the year create an awesome competition. Two competitions would be even better. For example, I introduced the "Operation Rocky--you vs the test" competition. Each student was to come up with their own boxing name and everyday they will take a two question test with a picture of some guy they are fighting that day (I used pictures from the nintendo game Mike Tyson's Punch-out). Create a poster on the wall that shows each students name with two columns" "wins & "loses". Everyday, you should update the poster with tally marks. All questions on the daily tests should be in the form of standardized test questions. In fact, all examples and problems from April till the end of the year should be in the form of test language.
6) By May, or after their first practice standardized test, recreate the list you created in step one, this time adding two newer categories Fail, likely fail, probably fail, probably pass, likely pass, and pass. Using your same 80/20 rule, spend 80% of your time targeting the two middle groups "probably fail, probably pass".
7) Sometimes you must cut your loses: There are some students who encompass the bulk of your discipline problems. Sometimes they are smart, awesome, funny students...but class clowns. Though we all love these students, sometimes they must be removed from your class in order to help others. Strike up a deal with other educators so that you can send these students to their rooms whenever the act up (in exchange for taking their students). No second chances, when they act up, send them out.