You don't need to change how you teach to improve assessment scores

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/assessment.html

It's important to remember tests are a great learning tool. You should have students evaluate their returned classroom tests to see where they need work. Also, look at last year's standardized test scores and note any relationships to your curriculum.
In my case, I noted since teaching the Constitution early in the year, my students did not do as well when they took the state test near the school year's end. I didn't want to change my curriculum because it is centered on the Constitution. So, I had students develop an encyclopedia of terms when we covered the founding fathers, and they used this to review later in the year. No muss, no fuss, and it was an integrated learning experience. The scores at our school, without any changes to the way we teach, were among the highest in the state. And we have three minority populations.
How I improve test scores
Over the years, my students have done exceptionally well in tests and competitions. The reason is twofold: I teach students how to write test questions so they know how to read them during tests, and I study the material to be tested. It does not take a Ph.D. to realize all the proper nouns in any state standard are the key. No question can be written without using these nouns if the test covers the standards.
Now, some tests do not cover the standards, and for that, learning to read the questions is the most important element. As an old coach, you practice the way you play. For a teacher the same applies. If you test the students with the same format as the exam, they feel more comfortable. In addition, I also make sure every student knows the test's importance. I have frequently read and heard about students who simply do not care and make no attempt to do well. Finally, make sure you cover the material for the slower learners. They hold the key to improving school test scores.
Assessment resources online
The following resources cover a wide range of topics related to assessment. It is a comprehensive list, but if you know of other valuable resources, please e-mail me through the site. Or, e-mail me if you'd like to know more about how I improve test scores.
-- Alan Haskvitz

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