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Preparing Students for Standardized Tests

Preparing Students for Standardized Tests

Standardized tests are an excellent opportunity to measure student success and effective teaching practices. Although standardized tests provide meaningful metrics for schools and districts, students may experience test anxiety and other inhibiting emotions affecting their academic performance. 

Preparing elementary schoolers for standardized tests can be easy if you have some excellent tips in your arsenal during exam season. Teachers can create supportive environments, provide reviews, encourage positive self-talk and growth and find unique ways to familiarize students with test materials. Keep reading to discover the best standardized test review strategies for elementary students from Success by Design. 

Foster an Environment of Positivity and Support

Standardized tests can be incredibly stressful for students, especially those encountering them for the first time. Many standardized tests are much larger than the homework assignments and classroom quizzes students see regularly. This can easily lead them to think that standardized tests have a more significant meaning and affect their ability to do well for fear of failure.

Teachers can influence student perceptions by having a positive attitude for students to model. Simple words and phrases can transform student perceptions and encourage learners to finish their tests with a positive outlook and put their best foot forward. 

Foster a supportive environment by:

  • Expressing how reviews keep the knowledge fresh and help students excel.
  • Explaining that tests can measure teacher effectiveness rather than student abilities.
  • Encouraging students to show what they know and view tests as a fun challenge.
  • Engaging students with materials and resources they need to find answers and practice.

Additionally, teachers can try to remedy test anxiety by recognizing common signs and providing solutions. Students who repeatedly mention the upcoming test, become moody, frequently talk negatively about their performance, show signs of procrastination or get upset over minor setbacks may be battling test anxiety. Teachers can help students find effective studying methods, work through learning strategies, encourage positive talk and teach relaxation techniques. 

Familiarize Students With the Test Format

Although students may have experience with classroom quizzes or tests, more extensive tests may make students feel more anxious. State exams typically take much more time to complete than regular classroom work, and students may feel nervous about what the test will look like and how they can prepare for it. 

Many students begin taking state tests during the third grade. Knowing how to prepare students for state testing could involve showing them what they can expect. For instance, preparing third graders for standardized tests could mean giving students a practice exam that models the test from the previous year. This way, they can get an idea of the types of questions they'll see, how long it will take them to complete and what materials will be most important to study beforehand. 

Provide an Engaging Review

Engaging reviews can be one of the best ways to prepare for upcoming tests. Instructors can also approach reviews in multiple ways. Finding an interactive and stimulating way to review will likely be the most effective at relieving test anxiety and encouraging students to engage with course materials. Some engaging ways to review include:

elementary students raising hands

  • Games: You can make class even more fun by playing games in the classroom. You can utilize online tools like Kahoot, where you can ask multiple-choice questions for your class or come up with in-person activities. For example, you can split your class into multiple teams and encourage them to work together to answer questions and beat other teams. 
  • Study guides: Educators can develop a comprehensive study guide that follows the chronological flow of the course materials. For example, the beginning of the study guide can discuss questions from the first few weeks of class, and the final few pages of the study guide will highlight recent problems you've covered in class. This will help students know where to look to find study material and remind them how to use one concept to aid in understanding another. 
  • Conferences: Having individual reviews can be beneficial for students. You can meet with students one by one to gauge each student's feelings about the test. You can also give standardized test-taking tips for elementary students during this review. Because you'll have seen first-hand where they excel or need more work, you can give each student specific feedback they can apply to improve before the exam. For example, one student may need to study a particular subject further while another needs to better show their work for math problems. 

Develop a Growth Mindset

A growth mindset enables people to accept challenges and take steps to master skills and continuously work toward improvement. Students who develop this mindset are more likely to reach success and feel satisfied with the work they complete. When educators cultivate this mindset, they can better help students become deep learners. 

Developing a growth mindset is an excellent tactic to become a better teacher and help students develop lifelong learning habits. You can help students build confidence, practice mindfulness activities and manage test stress by guiding them to a growth mindset. 

You can cultivate this mindset by:

  • Encouraging students to accept and overcome challenges.
  • Helping students understand the importance of growth.
  • Explain that struggles are natural and they can be a good thing.
  • Celebrate corrections and positive improvement.
  • Providing students with challenges so they can feel satisfaction at overcoming them.

Additionally, you can cultivate a growth mindset and encourage students to prepare for their tests by taking notes in their planners. Teachers can explain the importance of tracking progress and doing a little every day to improve. As students complete homework and set aside time to study, they can review their progress and see how far they've come. You can also motivate them to jot down quotes or write something they enjoyed for the day to keep them thinking positively. 

Prepare for Standardized Tests With Success by Design

Success by Design has been assisting students and teachers develop organization and planning skills since 1988. We're a proud leader in our industry, and we offer services and products that are relevant, accessible, valuable and of exceptional quality. 

Using our planners, you can find fun ways to prepare students for standardized tests. You can teach your students how to plan and stay organized effectively so they're ready for standardized tests, homework assignments and other coursework. 

Success doesn't happen by accident. You plan for it! You can help your students set goals, find school information and remember to complete their work on time. With Success by Design, you can ensure your students stay on track and begin building lifelong learning habits. 

Browse our elementary planners, or contact us for more information. Our friendly customer service team will help you find the perfect planners for you and your students. 

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