As an 8th grade teacher in Massachusetts, preparing my students for end of year testing (MCAS) was always on my mind. I wanted to ensure that I was preparing them to display the skills they have learned and mastered without making the end of year assessment the focus of my instruction.
Why is this so important? For one, end of year tests always added stress for me and my students. My students often experienced anxiety or added pressure when they think about high stakes testing. I know they wanted and would benefit from a chance to practice with questions that would be similar to what they will see on the test, but at the same time, I did not want them to feel an abrupt change in our focus as a class.
This is where ASSISTments really helped me and my students. ASSISTments allowed me to integrate test preparation without compromising my regular classroom routine. I chose to regularly (and discretely) expose students to a variety of end of year testing questions during the school year by customizing assignments to include carefully selected test items. With ASSISTments recent upgrades, it’s even easier for teachers to do this. You can search ASSISTments’ bank of state test questions by standard, and more easily identify items that align with your already planned daily assignments.
Even better, you can decide if I wanted to give assignments in practice or test mode. In “practice mode” students can be exposed to test questions, but have the opportunity to learn and grow from their mistakes without feeling overwhelmed or discouraged. In test mode, they can experience a more “testing like” environment, also important for their preparation.
As I know many of our teacher users are right now in the same situation I was, of wanting to prepare their students for end of year assessments, while balancing that with the stress and disruption test prep can cause, I wanted to share three concrete ways to use ASSISTments for preparing students for end of year tests.
- Assign Skill Builders to give students adaptive mastery-based practice on standards where they need more support. The ASSISTments standards report is a great way to easily identify which students need small group support to reach mastery on grade level standards. After small group learning takes place, Skill Builders are a great way to check for mastery.
- Integrate questions from our bank of released state tests into your daily ASSISTments assignments. This allows you to add in standards aligned, test style questions into your regular routine, making test prep an integrated experience.
- Leverage Google add-ons to mirror some of the supports students will see while completing tests. I always offered the option for additional support and accommodations, especially when I find some that align with what students will see on their end of year testing. Google Chrome has a variety of free add-ons that mirror features that students saw on online testing platforms, but these add-ons also help on day to day assignments in ASSISTments.
To all the teachers/educators reading this: Good Luck! The best way to prepare students for end of year testing is simply through high quality teaching that happens on a daily basis. You got this!
Do you have a routine for using ASSISTments to support preparation for end of year testing? Please share in the ASSISTments Facebook User Community.
Don't see released state test materials for your state? Let our team know by completing the ASSISTments Content Request Form.