Stress-free test prep: Have a gameplan for test prep in your classroom

Do you dread the end of the year when teachers typically test prep for standardized tests? It’s the worst. After a long year, both teachers and students are fatigued, and spring fever seems to hit hard. Your end of the school year does not have to feel this way if test prep occurs consistently throughout the year. There’s no need to stop instruction to prep students for state tests. We’ll walk you through the strategies that can create everyday stress-free test prep in your classroom.

tips for standardized testing prep

Have a “Day 1” mindset

The first step of seamless test prep in your class is to have a mindset that starts with prepping for standardized tests on day one. Think of your standardized test as a goal you work for each day. Get your students in this mindset as well. This will help you plan out each day, but you will also get in the daily habit of modeling critical thinking skills.

Use the test to plan your curriculum

If your test is your endpoint, work backward. Use the standardized test to map out your year. Make sure each of the learning targets you need to cover gets adequate time. Plan this out on a year-long calendar so you can visualize time. Give yourself extra days to account for things like sickness and weather events.

Pace yourself

As teachers, we all have our favorite units. It’s only natural to love a topic and want to dive deep. But you need to be conscientious of time. You can still do your favorite activities, but make sure you do not go over the days you gave yourself in your curriculum plan that you mapped out on your calendar.

Practice test questions that mirror the format of the test

When the big test rolls around, you want your students to focus on answering the questions. Confusing tech should not distract students. The easiest remedy is consistent practice with online testing. You can use TeacherMade to simulate online testing environments like read-out-loud buttons, highlighter tools, and how to complete various question types.

Use data on your students year-round

Once you get hooked on data from online assessments and assignments, there is no turning back. Not only will assignments from TeacherMade be self-graded, but you can also access data to see where your students are struggling the most. This will help prevent time loss in the classroom when you’re preparing for the big test.

Bring students into the data discussion

Don’t just sit on the data you’re collecting. Bring students into discussions about where they can improve. This type of conversation will inspire a growth mindset attitude within the classroom. Students will have more buy-in to the review efforts when they know the areas that they need to focus on the most. This can be accomplished with short conferences or grouping students with differentiated assignments.

Emphasize critical thinking skills

Often we tell our students to perform an “educated guess” when they don’t know the answer. But do they know what this actually means? What we are really saying is to use critical thinking skills and testing strategies when students don’t know the answer. Model these things for students. Talk out loud while you go through the steps of narrowing down multiple-choice questions. Often students don’t have the same amount of experience that we have when taking tests. This simple walkthrough also can help with building confidence which is essential for putting thought into guesses as well.

Model showing work

It can feel strange to show work on online assignments. This is a skill that needs to be taught and modeled in order to do it successfully. Many online standardized tests require students to show their work. In reading-oriented assessments, this can look like highlighting relevant pieces of text. Tests in math-oriented subjects will ask students to show their work like on a paper and pencil test. TeacherMade allows you to create online worksheets and tests that simulate both of these situations.

Teach them testing language

Have you ever stopped and explained what the term “analyze” means to your class? Honestly, it’s an abstract concept that means close to nothing. But students see this term again and again on tests. What needs to be accomplished? What do common testing terms mean? Teach students the testing language so they can know what to expect. It will eliminate the issue of knowing the material, but misunderstanding the question.

Link skills together for more well-rounded assignments

Often teachers try to create online worksheets but stop for a few reasons. The first reason, the online worksheet maker is too hard to use. Or the teacher figures out how to use it, but the questions are too simplistic. Create assignments that assess a greater depth of knowledge with TeacherMade. TeacherMade makes it easy to ask the exact question that you intend to ask on digital interactive activities. With a variety of question types, it’s no wonder thousands of teachers turn to us for their online assignments and more.

Create interactive assignments to expose students to TEIs

The best way to prepare for state standardized tests is to expose your students throughout the year to the format of the test. But at the same time, assignments need to flow with what you are teaching in order to be meaningful. Make relevant assignments that incorporate TEIs (tech-enhanced Items) so that your students are receiving consistent exposure to test items on a daily basis. TeacherMade can help. TeacherMade provides flexibility to teachers by converting any assignment to online digital activities. It’s easy to create TEIs from what you already have in your teaching arsenal.

Build Confidence with TeacherMade

One of the best ways to improve test scores in your class is to build test-taking confidence. Students with confidence make better-educated guesses, have testing perseverance, and don’t give up. TeacherMade can help.  TeacherMade converts your daily assignments and assessments into online activities that simulate TEIs. This means you will integrate more test prep into your classroom seamlessly. Students will go into standardized tests feeling more confident and prepared, and you do not have to devote chunks of time to test prep.