Strategies to Prep for Spring Testing

Administrator Blog Series, Part 3

February 8, 2016

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In the Classroom, For Admins

Spring testing season can be a stressful time—for both students and teachers! But if you start planning now, you can have a roadmap to keeping your entire school or district motivated and prepared for the challenges ahead.

Make Computer Time a Priority

Remember when we shared data that students are finding math on standardized tests more difficult than their classwork in our Math Fluency Gap post? Well, in addition to that finding, the Center for College & Career Readiness found that students who took a standardized test on the computer struggled to finish, compared to their peers taking the paper version. Specifically, for language arts, 6% of students rushed to finish or did not finish the computer-based test while only 3% of students did so for the paper-based test. It was even worse for math, where 13% of students had trouble finishing the computer test, but that number was only 9% for the paper version.

Thankfully, there’s a fairly simple solution: make sure kids have ample time to practice taking computerized tests and are familiarized with the format. Ensure that teachers are taking advantage of whatever tech your school has—computer labs, 1:1 devices, or classroom computers—for regular computer practice sessions. IXL offers a clean, distraction-free practice environment similar to what students will see on a standardized test.

Leverage IXL’s alignment to state standards

As you prepare for testing season, you can use IXL to make sure that students are practicing the content they need to succeed on standardized exams. All of IXL’s skills are aligned to the Common Core, as well as all state standards, which makes it easy to know which skills to practice next. And, IXL Analytics helps teachers get a sense of students’ proficiency on skills aligned to your state’s standards. You can even investigate students’ trouble spots on standards-aligned skills. By monitoring their progress, teachers and students can feel confident about upcoming tests.

   

Harness the power of friendly competition

As your school or district gears up for the tests ahead, tap into student (and teacher!) motivation by challenging students to master the necessary topics through fun competitions. Offer a small reward to see which class or grade can read the most pages or minutes, or complete the most IXL math or language arts skills! IXL even provides certificates so you can recognize the progress of every class, not just the ultimate winner.

Reduce teacher stress

In all the fervor to get students ready for exams, don’t forget that teachers get stressed too! Make sure to offer support and check in regularly on their stress levels. It’s also a good idea to provide training and professional development opportunities—check out our Community page and webinars for some great resources. Finally, encourage peer-to-peer planning so teachers can use each other as resources.

What are your tried and true strategies for standardized test prep?

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All Comments (1)

Christopher Brown March 19, 2016 at 9:49 am

excellent information

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