How do we best prepare students for high-stakes tests?

Use class time to teach test-taking skills, drill the concepts, and give practice tests.
28% (107 votes)
Institute after-school or extra class periods during the day devoted to test preparation.
9% (34 votes)
Use project-based learning or other kinds of engaging methods to teach the concepts that will be on the test.
52% (201 votes)
None of the above. (Click on Vote, then click on Comment on the results page to offer another response, or tell us what works at your school.)
12% (47 votes)
Total votes: 389

Comments (18)

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BOSKO (not verified)

the best day ofweek for test

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I think that scientists found a Wednesday as the best day for doing tests.

laurengoncountry (not verified)

I am wondering how to get

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I am wondering how to get past this. I currently work on a Reservation and have difficulty motivating students in specific content areas as they seem to become easily distracted when it is of no importance to them or their family.I understand the community is not in aggreance with the curriculum we use for the most part, however, nothing has changed and our jobs are threatened if not using it. We've also been told if a 10% increase in test scores is not shown at the end of the year, we are up for termination. What if the kids are not upholding their half and the curriculum does not match their needs? I'm with you, their progress is not shown on those tests and values are not held on the cultural end of the "stick". They are loosing it and it makes me sad to think how true this is. Currently only 100 known members speak the language fluently-sad huh?

Adrianne Bogans (not verified)

Best day of week for a test?

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I was scanning the web, looking for research on the best days of the week to administer tests. Any help?

Ken Messersmith (not verified)

The concern I have is

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The concern I have is that many teachers are using high stakes testing as an excuse to avoid being innovative. I hear teachers saying that they would like to use more technology, projects, collaboration, etc. in their classroom but they don't have time because of the tests. I believe this is a backward way of looking at things. If students are more engaged when they use technology, projects, collaboration, etc. then they should learn more. If they learn more they should do better on the test. It should NOT be necessary to "teach to the test" for students to learn effectively. We should quit worrying about the tests and concentrate our energy on student learning. The tests will take care of themselves.
Ann Sisko (not verified)

The high-stakes tests in New

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The high-stakes tests in New Jersey (4th grade level) are actually the best standardized tests I have ever administered. They reflect student performance in the classroom surprisingly accurately. Their importance is blown WAY out of proportion, however. Test results are published in all major New Jersey newspapers, and the pressure on administrators and teachers and students is immense. The answer to your question, then, is "All of the above, except..." To maximize their success, students do need to understand the structure of the tests they are taking and be comfortable with the format. So a certain amount of skill and drill is needed, though I personally prefer to keep it minimal. Students who get 'left behind' during the 'big push' can benefit from additional support. And of course, kids who have learned concepts well through project-based learning and experiential lessons will have essential understandings and insights that ought to be reflected in their achievement on those tests. Except... Do we really need "high-stakes" tests? When I started teaching, yearly standardized assessment was treated as a snapshot of where kids were at a certain time on a certain day. It provided another piece of information -- nothing more. The use of tests to glorify or condemn a class or a grade or a school or a district is not only counterproductive -- it encourages misuse of time, misdirection of energy, and misappropriation of ever-scarcer resources. Let's remove the "high stakes" from testing.
Shenise Bennett (not verified)

We need to make sure

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We need to make sure that the academic concepts taught at school on a daily basis are up to par with educational standards of many suburban schools. This is the real problem. Many of the children in the suburban school districts are ready for these tests because this is what they are being taught. I thought a test was to determine your knowledge based on the information taught? I don't know maybe I'm wrong but the children should just be answering questions based on what they actually know, and unfortunately inner city kids are being stripped of that.
La Tanja Whaley (not verified)

The one thing I have

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The one thing I have been noticing is how parents equate the responsibility of our children excelling in their test taking and study skills with only the teachers. However, many refuse to take on the responsibility themselves. We, as parents are the first teachers our children should actually encounter, and we have the ability to prepare them for any and all obstacles they may and will face. Test taking is and can be a difficult skill for even the brightest student, but as parents, we must encourage and enhance dilemmas like these during non-school hours as well, so our children are not faced with surprises and wonders as to why they are not doing as well as expected. School is not only during the hours of 8:00 am and 3:00 pm
Debi Duggar (not verified)

I teach 'test-taking strategies' under

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I teach 'test-taking strategies' under the disguise of 'Intensive Reading' class. Although the majority of my students experience a dramatic increase in the Florida state standardized tests, I wonder "what are we REALLY teaching these kids?" I focus on vocabulary and helping the students understand concepts through the use of graphic organizers. We use technology for reference/research and test taking practice. Since I am high school level, in the process of teaching strategies, I try to incorporate as much good literature as I can! I feel it's important that the struggling readers and 'bad' test takers have the opportunity to embrace excerpts and short stories, of the abundance of good literature that is necessary for high school students. We are forced to teach these kids to 'contain their writing within the box,'....what about THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX??? I'm afraid the curriculum for teaching to standardized tests is too narrow to appropriately prepare these kids for life beyond high school.
Jim Kilkenny (not verified)

I can only comment: After

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I can only comment: After looking at the results of this survey, it appears that we are a nation at risk. We think that our class time is so valuable we should be teaching to high stakes tests as opposed to high stakes life. Sorry. My regard to the testing gurus is less than generous, but then since we teach to tests, we learn less and less about irony, skepticism and other healthy looks at the bubble.
Robert Two Crow (not verified)

First, I want to make

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First, I want to make it clear that Native American Indian (NAI) students are capable of learning new knowledge and passing reading and math tests. As a problem, high stakes testing does not measure academic abilities of NAI students accurately. Local performance measures designed by educators working with NAI students to measure progress is a better microscope. Why? High stakes testing actually misses the boat as a dipstick when measuring NAI performance, especially for students who live on Indian reservations because differing educational views, values, and community lifestyles. In fact, it would be nice if high stakes testing were designed to measure academic progress instead of perpetuating the ongoing labeling system (i.e., At-Risk, SPED, LD, etc.). Until appropriate choices are offered as test options for schools serving non-mainstream communities, NAI students will continue to rate lower than their mainstream peers.
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