One way to help your students be successful during “testing season” is to teach them test-taking strategies. I like to do this not only for preparing students for testing, but it is an important skill that they will need for any assessment in their future. Below are just some quick examples of the important things that we discuss when it comes to test-taking strategies.
Teaching Test-Taking Strategies
Students should be taught test-taking strategies throughout the school year with multiple texts, assignments, and projects. This is based on our standards. We need to pay close attention to our standards and note the verb that is used in it. If the standards say explain, that is how they will be expected to do it on the standardized test. If it says analyze or apply, they will be expected to analyze or be able to apply it, and so on.
Reviewing Test Question Formats
I always make sure that I go over with students the various types of test questions (multiple choice, open-ended response, essay, short answer, etc.) with my students, along with strategies on how to answer those types of questions. For instance, we know that with multiple choice students should read all the choices, eliminate answers that are not correct, etc. This is also a good time to review with students placing the question in the answer for short answer responses.
Reviewing Vocabulary Strategies
I always review with students ways to determine the meaning of words they are unfamiliar with (since there is always a word or two on the test they don’t know). I review breaking the word down into words or parts they know, using context clues, and analyzing the text for background knowledge to guess what would make sense. It’s also important to teach students test question terms such as:explain, define, summarize, analyze, infer, most likely, conclude, etc.
Reviewing Types of Questions
Together we review the types of questions in a text, such as the “Right There” questions (answers to questions that students can find all in one place in the text), “Think and Search” questions (answers to questions that students can find in multiple places in the text), and “Author and You” questions (answers to questions that involve the students using what they learned in the passage and what they know. We review these questions in passages by highlighting the answers for right there questions in green, think and search in yellow, and author and you in red.
Reviewing Idea + Attitude
The main idea is a huge thing in all texts, so I like to make sure that students think about that before they answer any questions. While I know it’s not always the case, I do like to remind students to read the beginning and end of a passage (and/or paragraphs) to check for the main idea. In fact, I often say look for the idea and the author’s attitude. If you have the idea and attitude down, you have a good start!
Are you looking for other great pieces on testing? Check out my tips on getting through the testing season.