(!) Teach your students the concrete test-taking strategies that will bring them success on standardized exams, as well as on in-class assignments and assessments.
(!) Motivate learners to develop a “bring-it-on” mindset that allows them to see assessments and standardized exams as challenges to be tackled, conquered, and thwarted.
I am proud to announce that last year, my class of sixth graders exceeded the goals we set for ourselves on the state standardized tests. Our phenomenal scores were certainly the product of these young scholars’ intelligence – but such an explanation does little justice to the class’ commitment to practicing and mastering specific skills and mindsets that helped each tackle the test as though it was an adversary waiting to be toppled. The following materials kicked off a year-long pursuit of academic excellence by introducing a strategic approach to approaching tricky assignment and test questions.
Student Learning Objective Mastered: I will be able to... use strategies mastered by top students to outsmart tricky exams.
Test Taking Strategies (“Pro Test-Takers Always...") is a six page packet that I refined over three years of teaching sixth graders and preparing them for high-stakes testing. It covers 16 test-taking strategies that top students use to boost their success on exams. Many of the tips relate to math and reading multiple choice question assessments, though several apply to free response or writing portions of standardized exams as well. Each tip is followed with a substantial explanation. Following the introduction of all 16 strategies, the fifth page of the packet demonstrates the order in which a student might execute specific strategies while approaching a reading comprehension question. The final page will guide your class through one of the most common test-taking mistakes made by “novice test-takers,” shown side-by-side with the thought process taken by a strategic “pro test-taker.”
Although these resources were designed to boost students’ standardized test scores, I like to think the skills addressed don’t just “teach to the test” in a superficial way. Rather, they help students develop strategies and mindsets that empower them to approach any number of test scenarios they will have to surmount as secondary students and then as adults. Students who are prepared with a full quiver of concrete problem-solving strategies will be able to apply them seamlessly later in their academic careers.
My set of Test-Taking Strategies will benefit your entire class, but they will also strike a chord with those ultra-competitive athletic students who could use a reminder that their competitive drive can be carried over into the classroom too.
How much is YOUR time worth?
Save yourself 2 hours! This resource took me about 90 minutes to create, and then 30 minutes to improve and revise, following classroom implementation.