Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Teaching Students How to Take Tests

Testing! Ugh! The most dreaded time in all of the school year.  I would rather have 100 Christmas parties than 1 testing week.  Really.  I mean it!  And that is saying something. So much stress! For the teacher and the students.  So much riding on tests that only show a small snapshot of what our students can do.

But, alas, testing happens every year. And every year we, as teachers, try to prepare our students as best we can. Unfortunately, we can't just teach content. We also have to teach students HOW to take a test.  As a third grade teacher, this is especially important since none of my students have never taken a high stakes academic test. I actually have to add "how to fill in a bubble" to my lesson plans! Not kidding.

I came to 3rd grade from teaching early childhood in Pre-K and then in 1st grade.  I had thought I understood what upper grade teachers went through with testing.  After all, I took the tests as a kid myself, right? And we assess our students in other grades, so no real difference...boy, was I wrong! Ha! I got an enlightening education real quick. Lucky for me, I was surrounded by great teachers willing to help me adjust to what it took to ready 3rd graders for academic achievement testing.

My friend, Lora, had already come up with a great idea for teaching students HOW to take a test. She created the Smart Family! Posters of a super smart family that tests horribly because they make simple mistakes such as ignoring directions or racing through the test.  She graciously allowed me to take her vision a step further so we can share it with other teachers.

Introducing the Smart Family! They are not as smart as they think they are! Posters, a PowerPoint, editable teacher-to-parent notes, higher order thinking student response sheets, and parent-to-student note templates help teach students how to take achievement tests.

My students learned so much- about themselves!

I am in love with the parent-to-student notes! Some of my parents even had sisters and brothers write to my students.  So uplifting for my kiddos! They absolutely loved reading these each morning.

You can find the Smart Family resources at my store Tech Crazy Teacher!


  1. Great info. I remember notes being sent home when my daughters were in school. One of my daughters loved testing the other not so much. Can you relate to that Juliet? Love Mom

  2. This is great! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Cute and fun! Thanks for sharing!
    I probably have the worst attitude ever for testing, but our state just adopted new tests and we will be using iPads for the first time ever. I feel like our school is freaking out and OVERLY stressing all the teachers out, so I've kind of adopted an "it'll be what it'll be" attitude about it. I have still been making sure my students know that it is important and to do their best, but it's not the end of the world. In a year or so the scores will be part of my evaluation, but I can only do so much for myself and my students. I have come to accept that and will deal with it as it comes.
    Sorry that was a long comment…
    Simple Insights

  4. Steph,
    I think we all feel your pain. Wow, iPads...not sure how that would go in my school with my population. Stay strong and keep the faith that you are doing all you can. It is definitely a fine balance between "do your best" and "don't worry". Thanks for taking the time to read!
    Tech Crazy Teacher


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