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8 Ways to Prepare Students for Standardized Testing


Our students are intelligent in more ways than can ever be measured by a standardized test. Howard Gardner describes 8 intelligence types, yet traditional testing only measures their logical and linguistic strengths.

We differentiate our instruction but standardize testing.


This is, unfortunately, not something that we can control. What we can control is how help students navigate and think about standardized testing.


Here are 8 topics to guide them through this process.



1. Remember It’s Just a Test and Can Never Measure All Your Strengths.


What does it mean?

We know from Howard Gardner that folks are intelligent in many ways. Unfortunately, most schools only measure strengths in the areas of logical and linguistic intelligence. This is one of the reasons why perfectly intelligent people might not test well. So what can we do? Help students find their strengths.



How do students interact with learning?

Students find their strengths with a self-grading multiple intelligence quiz to find their strengths. This is also a great starting point for career exploration!


2. The Way You Treat Your Body Affects Mind’s Ability to Function


What does this mean?

Our brains are not performing our best when we don’t care for our bodies. This includes getting enough rest, hydrating, nourishment, and more. This is something that we need to discuss in our classes when we want to prepare students to do their very best.



How Do Students Interact with Learning?


This Basic needs check helps students identify ways to better care for their minds and bodies before a big test.


I also encourage the use of this standardized testing take-a-break room between testing sessions to help students do their best.



3. Following Directions Is Important


What does this mean?

It can be so frustrating for both students and teachers when a student loses points over a silly directional error. No matter the age of the student, it is good to do a reminder activity about following directions.


How do students interact with learning?

I give students a following directions challenge. Directions instruct students to read all questions before beginning. There are silly activities listed. The last question states that the other activities should be skipped. Some students will get it- others will look silly and figure it out at the end :)


4. Use Elimination Strategy


What does this mean?

Most standardized tests are designed with a classic four multiple-choice option format. If students know how to eliminate incorrect answers they increase their chance of finding the correct answer.






How Students Interact with Learning:


I use an interactive Google Slide presentation to practice eliminating incorrect answer choices.


5. Watch out for Absolute Words



What Does This Mean?

Absolute language in standardized testing refers to any question that requires yes/no true/false or all/nothing thinking to answer. There are words to look out for such as always, never, none etc. These are words students need to watch out for in tests.





How Students Interact with Learning

I use an interactive digital worksheet with statements over boxes with a singular word behind the box. If the phrase in the box contains an absolute word- the box is eliminated to reveal words to unscramble in a secret message.




6. Notice General Words


What does this mean?

General words are the other side to absolute words. They refer to words or phrases that have more flexibility in answer choices. Students benefit from identifying general words in answer choices because they often contain correct answer choices.


How to Students Interact With Learning:

Practice for general words is very similar to absolute word practice. It is a digital worksheet with statements over boxes with a singular word behind the box. Unscramble for a secret message.


7. Know Where to Find Answers in a Story


What does this mean?

Even though we teach students about plot every year, it’s still a good idea to review this before standardized tests because it helps students know WHERE to find answers in a passage.


How Students Interact with Learning

I have students fill out this click-and-drag interactive plot map as a plot refresher.




8. Believe In Yourself

What Does It Mean?

When we put students in stressful situations, like taking a standardized test, negative feelings may arise that sometimes have nothing to do with the actual test. This is when positive affirmations can benefit students. I love to hang these free printable posters around the room during testing. I even use them in virtual testing rooms as a nice welcome message :)




How Students Interact with Learning


I have my students create positive affirmations with this worksheet to guide them through creating three positive statements to remind themselves when they feel stressful situations arise.






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