Preparing middle school students for standardized tests can seem like an overwhelming task, but when you plan and review with specific standards in mind using these checklists, you can put your mind at ease, knowing that you have not left any standard behind.
Standardized tests are used throughout the United States to check whether students are meeting core competencies and mastering standards.
Most teachers would agree that standardized tests are not the best way of showing student skills.
Unfortunately, it is part of the game that we have to play as educators.
Since it is a necessary evil, and probably will be for a while, we need to know how we can prepare middle school students for standardized tests without too much ‘teaching to the test.’
This is something we’ve considered a lot over the last couple of years, and we here at The Sparkly Notebook have several resources that can be really helpful for middle school teachers who find themselves in these situations.
Measuring Student Mastery of Standards
When push comes to shove, standardized tests are not a mystery.
We know what the test will measure and what students are expected to know (i.e., the standards). So, we highly suggest using that information (along with some helpful checklists) to gauge whether or not your students are ready to go.
Standard Checklists for Documenting Proficiencies
Throughout the school year, using standard checklists to keep track of your students’ strengths and weaknesses can be very helpful.
If you’ve never used a standards checklist before, no worries!
We have standards checklists available for each middle school grade level.
These checklists breakdown the key terms used for each standard, planning sheets for identifying when each standard will be taught (or how it will be taught) during each unit, comparison charts for identifying how the standard compares to previous years (or following years), and a sheet for planning how you will spiral standards throughout the school year.
Using checklists like these should not start at testing time. In fact, many Sparkly Notebook followers use these standard checklists to plan their entire year; however, if it is getting close to testing time and you have not been using these checklists, don’t worry. All is not lost.
Start by printing or downloading the checklist.
Next, review each standard, putting a ‘1’ next to the standards you feel your students do well and a ‘2’ next to the standards you know your students have practiced, but they could also be standards you know your students could use more work. Finally, put a ‘3’ next to the standards you are not sure you covered at all.
Prioritize your learning to the ‘2s’ and ‘3s’ on your list using standards-focused activities and lessons.
Supplementing with Standard-Focused Resources
If you are getting closer to testing season, and there is a standard that your students are really struggling with, bring in a unit or lesson that specifically focuses on mastering that standard.
The Sparkly Notebook has created a whole line of resources specifically built around each standard.
And they are game changers!!
If you find yourself in a position where your students just don’t seem to be getting a concept, but you don’t have a good focused lesson to support that concept, then you can just jump into the store and grab the exact resource you need to give your students exactly the standard they need to focus on.
Preparing middle school students for standardized tests can feel like a task that won’t end, but don’t worry! We’ve got your back! It truly is just three steps.
Step 1: Start with the checklists.
Step 2: Prioritize the standards you still need to focus on.
Step 3: Grab the resources you need to support that learning.
It is simple as that!