Test Prep Tip 1: Help Students own and understand their own data


Do your students have Test Anxiety?

Can you feel the anxiety in the air or the overall feeling of worry throughout your classroom? Could it be because of the not-so-good but ‘healthy’ cafeteria food the students just ate? Could it be because of the cold weather seeping through the cracks in the windows of the classroom? No, it’s just test-prep season!

A very effective way to demystify End-of-Year testing and reduce test taking anxiety is to help students own and understand their previous test taking data and develop their own personal improvement plans. Here’s how:   

Review previous school and classroom performance with students:

Analyze your classes’ overall reading performance data and model how your students should analyze his or her own past test scores. This way, each student can visually see which areas are in need of improvement.

Show students that getting a score of 70 versus 90 comes down to answering just 2 more questions correctly on a 10 question exam. Asking students to answer only 2 more questions correctly, will seem to be more within their grasp. It’s a lot easier to motivate students to get 2 more questions correctly than to tell them simply to get a better grade on the next exam.

Help students understand their past test performance

Sit down with your students and help them understand their own test data. Help them comprehend the type of questions that they tend to get right and wrong. Start by recognizing their strengths and then point them to opportunities to improve.  

Take note of the type of questions the student consistently gets wrong and model practices  for tackling those specific type of questions.

Practice with Purpose

Now that you’ve helped your students understand how their End of Year exams are scored and how much each question counts, it’s time to time to help them practice with purpose. Here’s how Books That Grow can help. The reading materials on Books That Grow, and the end of reading questions that accompany each reading, are rigorous and designed specifically to model the types of texts and questions that students encounter on End of Year exams.

Here’s an example of an after Reading Question from the Teacher’s Guide of The Masque of Red Death, by Edgar Allan Poe:

If this story is viewed as a morality tale, what vice is prince Prospero being punished for? Furthermore, do you think his fate is a fair one?

Most importantly, on Books That Grow, every text is available at 3 to 5 different levels of complexity. This means that you can pair each student with the most challenging reading level that they can manage, giving them the stretch they need to grow their reading ability.

Test-prep season doesn’t have to be as daunting as it may seem. With the students’ knowledge of what they need to improve upon and the proper teaching materials, the test-prep anxiety will lessen from totally freaking out to mildly concerned.