It’s that time of year again when the temperature is warming more and more each day, the days are getting longer, flowers and trees are blooming all around, and it seems as if everyone including students, teachers and administrators are catching that thing we call SPRING FEVER!
We all love this time of year but it can be difficult as a school leader to keep the focus on academic excellence. With End of Grade and End of Course testing right around the corner it can be a nerve-racking time for principals and school administration. Having gone through this many times in my career, and having even caught the “fever” myself I have learned a few valuable things to keep in mind as pollen season approaches.
- Make sure teachers align instruction. This, of course, should be planned before school even begins, and considered throughout the year, but you should emphasize alignment in the final months of the school year. My teachers would meet and plan out there entire year on an academic calendar to ensure that they cover all grade level objectives and give sufficient time to teach each one. But during this time of the year, I ask all of my teachers to go back over their calendars to ensure they are on target. They may need to rearrange their calendar based on student mastery of objectives. They may need to reteach some areas. Give frequent assessments to know if your students have mastered the objective.
- I highly encourage schools to purchase testing prep materials. They are several companies that offer great resources that are grade level specific. Teachers use these materials each day to help prepare students by practicing similar types of questions they will see on the EOG. If you do not have the funding to purchase materials such as these, you can visit the Department of Public Instruction website where they have samples of many of the types of questions students will find on the test as well as practice activity pages you can print. Teachers may use these to practice with students.
- Make time for an emphasize teaching students testing strategies. Here are five quick and easy strategies teachers can share that will increase probability of success if implemented.
- Don’t spend too much time on any one question. If you are stuck on a question, move on and come back to it after you have answered all of the other questions.
- It is important to answer every question even if you are not sure of the answer.
- Use all of your time! There are no extra points for finishing early.
- Save time at the end to review your test and make sure you haven’t left out any answers.
- Answer the easiest questions first but be sure to go back to those questions you skipped.
Standardized testing can be difficult for everyone involved but with a proper plan and preparation it can be a much less stressful time and you can soon look forward towards that wonderful summer break.
This blog was written by Shelly Watson, consultant with Leaders Building Leaders. Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.