Creating a Positive Testing Environment

Standardized testing has become a common practice in every classroom. Here are three tips to help your students become successful when that annual time of the year rolls around.

  1. Practice success so they know what it feels like.

Have you given your student the opportunity to know he can be successful?  It is important for the student to be confident that he can arrive at the correct answer on a test. When creating a practice test, make at least your first two questions a review of the standards. All of your students should get these first few questions correct.

Your practice test of success should be done one to two weeks before the big standardized test with no more than 10 questions. Additionally, do not make all the questions multiple-choice.  Last-minute cramming does not usually pay off, so you might as well put your students in a positive state of mind by motivating them with a practice test in which they get at least a few correct answers.

  1. Help them learn to justify their answers with questions.

Many times answering a question in groups is more beneficial for students than completing a test and never discussing the right and wrong responses. Whether with groups of two to four or in the whole class, have the students justify their answers.

  1. Create a positive state of mind.

The day of the test will arrive with mixed anxiety for your pupils. Some may be taking the SATs or you will have a third grader with a pencil in his nose. At this point, it is the student’s state of mind that will determine how long they stick with a problem. If they give up early, it won’t matter how much information they have retained during the year. Praise hard work, give them a pep talk, and use any strategy you can to bring positivity into the classroom. The real importance is that the positive tone is set.

There is a need for an independent agency outside of schools to test for retained knowledge of students and standardized testing does indeed analyze that.   Having said that, stress can take away from such knowledge, and in its place leave some holes.  Reducing stress in yourself as well as your students can only help to reveal their true bank of knowledge gained from an efficient and skillful teacher.


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