Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Standardized Test Madness Is Officially Here

Are you as stressed out about standardized tests as most of your colleagues appear to be? Few events in a teacher's professional life can arouse as much angst as knowing that your students will be taking a test that not only covers what they were supposed to learn, but also how well you taught them. Did you cover everything? Did you cover it in such a manner that every student mastered it? Few us us escape the stress of testing. To make it safely through this rough period with your career and your sanity intact, try some of these brief suggestions. Many teachers have found that adopting positive, proactive attitudes about testing make it easier to keep standardized tests in perspective and reduce harmful stress.

• Work hard to be a good teacher every day and you should feel confident that your students will perform well on standardized tests.

• Make test preparation part of the every day business of your class instead of a time-consuming event several weeks before the testing date.

• Instead of dwelling on the negative aspects of testing, determine how being held accountable for your students’ learning has improved your teaching.

• Accept responsibility for the part of the test that you can control and prepare your students for that, reminding yourself that you are also responsible for the entire instructional performance of your students and not just the test.

• Remind yourself that standardized tests do not drive your curriculum, state standards and guidelines do.

• Students will vary in the way that they respond to tests. Accept that some of your students will do well and others may not be as successful.

• Don’t go overboard in your attempts to scare students about tests. Help them deal with test anxiety and focus on achievement instead.

• Remind yourself that standardized tests are just part of what you accomplish each day. You are in the business of educating and inspiring students.

• Offer magic pencils with great erasers and the correct answers packed inside just waiting to be bubbled in.