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Prepared for Success

As we approach exams for first semester, teacher and student anxiety is building. I would like to share the research-based test-taking strategies that I have observed you practice throughout the semester that will contribute to our students’ success. This week’s message will conclude with student reminders that I hope are beneficial as you try to decrease test anxiety for our kids.

You continue to work to ensure that the curriculum is aligned with the standard course of study and that your pacing is appropriate. This is perhaps the most obvious and most discussed method of test preparation.  Through vertical alignment, discussions within your department, and sharing/adjusting pacing guides, you are making important instructional decisions that will give your students the best possible opportunity to experience success.

You have established a safe and caring emotional climate. Your hard work will help students feel secure, take more academic risks, and try again until they succeed. Continue to communicate the relationship between effort and achievement as well as your belief that your students will succeed.

You continue to use vocabulary, literacy, and formative assessment strategies that have created a climate for learning that is centered on the occurrence of frequent and quick reviews of previously learned material. Because your students are accustomed to regular reviews and they are aware of your expectations, you have created yet another plan for success. The self-assessment focus in our professional development is a means by which to help students learn to test themselves.  Because your students have experienced informal formative assessments, benchmark assessments, and self-assessments, they will rise to the occasion when taking exams.

I have seen many of you continue to work with students to unpack the language of the test and build students’ sense of security with test vocabulary. You have provided explicit practice to help students gain a greater understanding the language of both the test and the content to be tested.  Understanding that students often miss questions that contain information they already know because they cannot translate the language found in the question has helped prepare students for success.  By unpacking the language of the test, you have provided yet another means for student success.

Not only have worked to unpack the language of the test, but you have also used these terms in class.  I have heard you infuse these terms in discussions, writing assignments, quiz and test questions, tickets out the door, and graphic organizers.   You understand the importance of having students use these vocabulary terms when they take multiple-choice tests, but you also realize that it is imperative that students see and use these words outside of a standardized testing situation so they truly understand the meaning of the language and become comfortable using words that could potentially become stumbling blocks.

Perhaps reflecting on all the strategies that you have used throughout the semester will help alleviate some of your anxiety. I appreciate all that you do for our students.

Some Quick Pointers to Share with Students

  • Read the question before you look at the answer.
  • Come up with the answer in your head before looking at the possible answers.  This way the choices given on the test will not throw you off or trick you.
  • Eliminate answers you know are not correct.
  • Read all the choices before choosing your answer.
  • Always take an educated guess and select an answer.
  • Usually your first choice is the right one, unless you misread the question.
  • A positive choice is more likely to be true than a negative one.

http://www.testtakingtips.com/test/multiple.htm

Please feel free to send your test-taking strategies out to the HHS Faculty this week so that everyone has the opportunity to share as many strategies with our students as possible.

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