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STATE TESTING – The real 4-letter word in education. The two words sure to make many, if not most, educators cringe. The pressure to achieve proficiency weighs heavily on students and teachers. For those of you already testing, “May the odds be ever in your favor.” For those of you still burning the midnight oil to help students practice all the things you’ve taught this year, consider the following to help with state testing:
~Student Learning Stations~
This is a great way to group students and differentiate. You can spruce stations up by adding games and highly interactive activities. It also allows the teacher to move about the room and help those students who need help. You can read more about student stations here.
~Use Released Test Items~
I always used released state exams from other states in addition to my own, whenever those were available. I wanted students to be exposed to all of the possible ways a skill could be assessed. That said, it was imperative that I find other ways to provide students with the level of rigor I’d expect them to see on a state exam. Think about the way your state’s test is set up, and find something that works for you.
Below are a few resources I have used:
- Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers
- The State of Texas STAAR Released Test Questions
- EngageNY (3-8 only)
- North Carolina
~Let Data Drive Your Instruction~
Whenever you assess students, always be sure that a standard is attached and that you are collecting data each time. ‘Thumbs up, thumbs down’ is NOT a good way to access what a student really knows. Instead, give each student an opportunity to demonstrate what they know. Then, be sure to track how your students do on each skill.
Another thing to consider is using an interactive assessment platform like Plickers , Quizziz, or Kahoot! to break up the monotony of pen and paper or computer screens. Each provide data that you can use to drive instruction.
Put it all together
If you are so inclined, you could put this all together and cycle through from now until you begin testing. For some teachers in my district, they still have 2-3 weeks. A lot can happen with student achievement n 2-3 weeks when teachers are intentional.