“It’s standardized test time again, I am so excited!!” said no teacher ever.
As teachers this is probably one of the things we hate most!! Standardized testing is one of the things I like least about my job. Testing can be so stressful for students and for teachers too. I know we have to do it so here are a few ways you can ease the testing blues for you and your students.
Teach them to make a multiplication chart
Teaching my students to make a multiplication chart is one of the most valuable things I teach my students before standardized testing. Teaching my students to create a multiplication chart helps them prepare for testing. Students cannot have a multiplication chart during the test so teach them to make one on their scratch paper.
I learned this simple trick from a colleague, who was an awesome math teacher!! I taught my students to do this in a really simple way.
I gave each student a multiplication chart. Then I had my students draw a large square on blank paper. Next I directed them to make 12 vertical and 12 horizontal lines evenly spaced. This will take a bit of practice and you may have a few students you need to help get started. Next, we discuss the patterns on the multiplication chart. Then my students use the multiplication chart to complete their own chart. This may take a long time the first time your students do this. Have students practice each day within a few days your students will begin to do this faster and faster, mostly because it’s faster to count up or memorize than to keep looking back at their chart.
Question Answer Relationship is something I usually teach mid year. This will help your students understand how to find answers to questions and what clues to look for in the questions. This will help them quickly and easily find the answers to comprehension questions.
Encourage your students, knowing that you care and are proud of them, no matter what, is important. Fill them with Positive talk and if you are believer, like me sprinkle in a silent prayer too. I do this all the time but in the weeks leading up to testing I let my students know that testing is important but it does not determine their intelligence. I explain that the test is measuring certain skills but this test can’t truly measure your ability. Each day of testing I let them know they are amazing and I leave a little treat for them before and or after the test. These treats cannot be a replacement of the daily encouragement that you sow into your students each but it definitely lets them know you are thinking about them and are extra proud of them during the standardized testing week.
Practice How You Test
Practice testing each day, up until a few days before you test. Use all the procedures that you will use on test day. Review testing exceptions each day. Practice each procedure so your students know what to expect. This can help ease the stress on test day.
We discuss what you can do and what is not allowed after completing their test. We role play, “Ok, you break your pencil during the test, what do you do?” “You need to go to the bathroom during the test, what do you do?” We practice sitting quietly until every student is done. I even go as far as modeling how to close the door when you leave or enter the classroom during testing. I do what may seem like too much so that my students will be comfortable on testing day and so they know what to do in every possible situation during the standardized test.
Keep Parents in the Loop
Make sure parents are aware of upcoming dates. Ask parents to review with their child at home. I do this every week in my newsletter but there may be specific things each student needs, let parents know so they can help.
Stay Cool and Calm
On test day be cool calm and relaxed. Students will naturally come in with a little bit of the jitters, your calmness will help them relax. If things go wrong during testing like a student gets up without raising their hand, don’t freak out. Quietly remind them to raise their hand and that mistakes are okay.
The weeks of the standardized test can be so stressful. Spend time in the weeks before testing teaching student to make a multiplication chart, how to use QAR to answer and narrow down questions, encourage students throughout test prep and testing treats are always nice. Remember to keep parents in the loop so they can help and stay cool and calm on test day.