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Test Taking Strategies and Student Achievement. Kris R. Sweetnam Churchill Elementary School Cloquet, Minnesota. Standardized Achievement Tests. Hold Schools Accountable High Stakes Clash with Performance Based Learning Track Students. Taylor & Walton, 1997, p. 67.

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test taking strategies and student achievement

Test Taking Strategies and Student Achievement

Kris R. Sweetnam

Churchill Elementary School

Cloquet, Minnesota

standardized achievement tests
Standardized Achievement Tests
  • Hold Schools Accountable
  • High Stakes
  • Clash with Performance Based Learning
  • Track Students
taylor walton 1997 p 67
Taylor & Walton, 1997, p. 67

“ When test scores become the most important factor determining who gets included in and excluded from educational opportunities, scores that accurately reflect students’ knowledge and skills become imperative.”

my literature review questions

My Literature Review Questions:

How could I get my low test achievers to perform their best on standardized tests?

What factors were contributing to poor performance at test time?

What test taking strategies could I teach all my students?

high test anxiety
High Test Anxiety:
  • Causes
  • High achieving students with high test anxiety
  • Ways to cope with test anxiety
three ways to overcome test anxiety
Three ways to overcome test anxiety:
  • 1. Teach students test strategies
  • 2. Use cooperative groups at learning and practice time
  • 3. Teachers create positive environment
test preparation
Test Preparation:
  • Ethics in Test Preparation
  • Test Preparation
  • Test Taking Strategies
  • All Students Benefit
test taking strategies
Test Taking Strategies:
  • How to understand test directions and test format
  • How to deal with unnecessary information
  • Comprehension strategies for reading
  • Multiple choice questions
  • Budget time wisely
  • Educated guesses
  • Check the test
all students benefit
All Students Benefit:
  • Test strategies benefit all students but especially:
      • 20% who are high test anxious
      • Helps low achieving students from low socio-economic backgrounds:
        • Minorities
        • ESL students
        • Learning disabled students
student reflection
Student Reflection:
  • After each test students reflected on their results on the back of their tests
  • Completed feedback survey after each test: 14 questions
  • Student #1: “I think I could do better by reading better and not hurrying. I was nervous when I took this test. I am always, well sometimes nervous when I take tests. I also don’t like taking them.”
  • Anxiety
  • Strategies Unit
  • P.I.R.A.T.E.S.
  • Actual ITBS Week
  • Relaxation techniques: deep breathing and tensing and relaxing muscles
  • Peaceful place
  • Stress balls
  • Visualization
  • Mozart music
  • Positive affirmation
strategies unit
Strategies Unit:
  • Weekly test strategy lesson
  • Test taking strategy journal
  • Learning partners, small groups, whole class
  • Practiced on each classroom test
p i r a t e s
  • P. Prepare to succeed (P.A.S.S.)
  • I. Inspect the instructions (R.U.N.)
  • R. Read, remember, reduce
  • A. Answer or abandon
  • T. Turn back
  • E. Estimate or guess (A.C.E.)
  • S. Survey or look back
actual itbs week
Actual ITBS Week:
  • Designed thinkers caps
  • Created PIRATES posters for hall
  • Read Dr. Seuss “Hooray for Diffendoofer Day”
  • Ate brunch every day before testing
  • Test folder
  • Celebration cake at end of week: “This was a piece of cake”
my subgroups

My Subgroups:

Significant gains in ITBS scores for “no label” group, Title One, GT and ADHD subgroups

No significant change in scores for Native, Counseled, and Special Ed student subgroups

whole class pre and post test strategies
Whole Class Pre and Post Test Strategies:
  • Next slide shows student response to survey test strategy question
  • Of interest to note, student #3 has the most strategies listed on her survey
“Improving test taking skills and knowledge of students is one of the quickest ways to improve test scores,” (Weller & Weller, 1998).