It’s necessary. It can be stressful. It’s …
This was our first year taking standardized tests online (AIR), and I have to admit that made me quite a bit more anxious than normal. I knew my students had worked hard and were well-prepared, but the technical aspect was new and outside of my comfort zone.
Despite the discomfort, things went well. I thought I would share a couple of strategies that helped testing go a little smoother than expected (for me and the students).
1. Make sure the students are familiar with any online tools. Our awesome instructional coach came in my room several times to help students become familiar with logging in to the testing site and using some of the tools such as text to read.
2. Give students an appropriate brain break before the tests. I love this set from 3rd Grade Thoughts. I am just careful which ones I choose for testing days.
3. I strongly believe in taking a stretch break at some point during the testing, if possible. Students should practice taking a completely silent break, since this is not their every day situation.
4. In the past, our school has made goody bags similar to this one for students to have on testing days. However, this year we kept it simple and passed out mints to help stimulate their brains. Either way, I think a token to show you care along with some words of encouragement go a long way!
5. A cute sign never hurts. My students got a kick out of the one I made for the door. You can download the sign by clicking the pink button below.
6. I believe there is a very fine line between preparing your students as much as possible for these tests and “overkill” that makes students just want to be finished. It is important to know your kids and focus on engaging them in the standards. It is equally important to instill confidence and a strong work ethic. An understanding of the standards along with a belief and willingness to succeed can go a long way in having students perform their best on the test, in school, and in life.
Are your students taking state assessments online this year? Do you have any motivational strategies that work? I’d love to hear any ideas.