In Part 1 of this blog (which you can read here), I talked about how test prep is often fluff and doesn’t get down to the heart of what is really important in having kids pass assessments. I encourage you to check it out before you continue reading!
So…then what do I suggest for the test-taking time of year?
Here’s a short list:
- Keep your schedule the same
- Keep on teaching your curriculum/content
- Avoid freaking kids out or causing them to have performance anxiety by overly celebrating the testing window
- Keep your routines in the same (If you don’t normally let kids leave the classroom during teaching to get a drink of water, then that shouldn’t be any different during testing!)
- Avoid acting like a lunatic during the test and lurk around and peek over kids’ shoulders like a weird Peeping Tom (I kid…but you know it’s true!)
- Debrief the test each day and talk about what went well and what didn’t
- Do a quick 5-minute review each morning of the most important base skills your kids will rely on and use regularly during testing
- Keep homework intact – a lot of kids needs the structure of doing some routines each evening…these are often confidence-builders
- Prepare to give lots of academic-based feedback to kids on academic tasks (this is a HUUUUUGE confidence boost for kids when they need it the most)
I know that we’re trying to do the best for our students during test taking time, but I fear that we’re sending the wrong message: If we celebrate and rah-rah enough, you’ll do better on the test.
Unfortunately, that’s just not the case.
The most powerful thing that we have at our fingertips is the ability to teach efficiently and effectively! It’s what separates us teachers from worksheets, parents, non-educator types: THE ABILITY TO TEACH WELL!