May the Test Scores be Ever in Your Favor

Standardized testing season is upon us. Students are whispering, pondering, questioning, and fretting about "The Test."  Seventy-three times daily I hear my students ask,
"Will THIS be on The Test?"
"Will I need to know THIS for The Test?"
"Is this question gonna be on The Test?"

Additionally, I find myself saying an average of eighteen times per hour, 
"THIS. Is. Really. Important."  

Easing students' fears about "The Test" is as simple as preparing them with a few strategies for test-taking situations. Without specifically "teaching to the test," I always prepare my students by showing them what test-taking is all about. It is a skill, just like writing a paragraph or multiplying numbers. It should be explicitly taught. Blah, right?

I like make this otherwise monotonous task of filling in bubbles after reading passage (after passage, after passage) into a game, where they can earn points via a point box that they keep, for each of the six letters of the test-taking strategy that we call RUNRAP.

We use this strategy for reading test-taking. Beginning as early as January, I introduce this concept with the idea of "beating the test-makers". Friendly competition in testing grade levels is always fun, and it allows students to find some internal motivation during an otherwise unnaturally awkward environment. I have found that students of all levels can grasp this acronym, and are feeling more successful to SHOW WHAT THEY KNOW during Testing Time.

This is a fifth-grade reading passage with four multiple-choice questions and one written response. Students put their rectangular point box on the bottom of the page, along with the acronym RUNRAP. We review what each letter stands for quite awhile, and pretty soon it is committed to memory. Download my posters and begin using this strategy NOW, by clicking on the link to my store or the pictures below. 

Students "practice" using RUNRAP just like we would during "game time," and then we check our strategy work as a whole group. I remind students to give themselves a point for each time they complete one of the RUNRAP strategies using their point box. During reading, this is their way of showing their work. This means that they earn more points by trying than actually getting the right answer. I find this helpful for student accountability during testing. We also use this time to discuss and model how important elimination is throughout the testing process.

May the Test Scores Be Ever in Your Favor! Happy Testing Season.