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Pro Advice

It’s Testing Season: Now What?

School districts across the United States spend approximately $1.8 billion on standardized testing each year. With that level of investment on the table, it’s more important than ever for students and teachers to align on their goals for testing season.

Set the Stage

When it’s time to talk about upcoming tests, help set the stage by reminding students that this exercise is about them and how well they are learning. It’s not a punishment. It’s an opportunity to see how they perform against their own expectations, as well as outside measures. There is also a benefit to standardized testing in that everyone is assessed against the same criteria. These tests are intended to create a level playing field.

Focus on Learning

While you can’t teach good study habits overnight, you can make sure that students are preparing all along. Talking about testing well ahead of the actual event may also alleviate fears and lessen anxiety. The same goes for administering quizzes and practice tests, as well as ungraded assignments in core competency areas. Students can relax as they grow more familiar with what to expect when it’s time to sit for the actual test.

Regroup

Hooray, testing is over. But there is still an atmosphere of stress as teachers, students, and parents wait for the scores to come in. Congratulate your students on getting through the process, and remind them that learning is not for testing season only. In fact, the more attention they pay to improving their basic skills day after day, the better off they will be. Meanwhile, a little celebration might be in order ... for you, your students, and your teaching peers.

Additional Reading
Center on Education Policy: Testing
U.S Department of Education – Fact Sheet: Testing Action Plan

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