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Updated August 2010



Be sure to see the Education World

Strategies for preparing students and teachers for high-stakes tests and ideas for interim assessments to take some of the pressure off one "big" test.

Teachers Turn Classes Into Boot Camps
On a mission to improve student performance, some schools are starting boot camp-like programs to motivate kids before state tests. Student recruits march, chant, do sit ups, and pull for their battle buddies. Included: Tips for setting up a boot camp.

Academic Boot Camps Get Students in Test Shape
Concentrated reading and test-taking instruction in small groups -- known as boot camps -- is one of the strategies a California school district uses to help elementary and middle-school students on the cusp of proficiency improve their reading and test scores.

‘Are You Smarter…?’ Events Get Students’ Heads ‘In the Game’
Seeking new and motivating approaches to encourage students to excel on standardized tests, some administrators are borrowing the format of the program Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? to hold family game nights that prep students for those tests.

Reading and Math "Carnival" Equals Low-Stress Test Prep
A Hampton, Virginia, school prepares elementary students for standardized tests with "Reading and Math Mania." It is the most well-attended event of the year, and it helps staff get to know families by connecting with them in an open and lively setting.

Big Test Pep Rallies: 2, 4, 6, 8 -- Taking Tests And Feeling Great!
Schools are using the popular "pep rally" to get students excited and motivated to do their best on standardized tests.

Somebody Needs You

Helping at-risk student succeed on assessment tests is the focus of Larry Bell's work. He is an in-demand speaker on the topic in school districts across the country and at local and national conventions. Be sure to see the series of columns Bell has written for Education World. Click the links below to read his practical ideas for building student achievement and test scores.

  • Daily Participation: One Key to Raising Achievement
  • Teach Reading Strategies to Improve Student Test Performance
  • A Simple Idea for Improving Math Achievement
  • Power Verbs Help Ensure Students' Test Success
  • Simulated Test Days Are Key
  • Prepare Students for Long, Dull Tests

  • Mapping Instruction With Interim Assessments
    An online assessment tool has led to improvements in instruction and test scores in one district.

    Adjusting to Accountability
    NCLB's emphasis on testing means Max Fisher has to pace his teaching differently. He also has changed the formats of his tests.

    More (Short) Tests Can Help Learning
    Some schools are finding that assessing students throughout the year with short tests can improve learning and better prepare kids for the big tests.

    It's Only a Test
    Experts say educators need to identify their own feelings toward testing and find the positive in order to prepare and enable students to do their best.

    Beyond Standardized Testing: District Focuses on Assessing the Whole Child
    Educators in one Illinois district developed a system to assess a range of skills -- including critical thinking and social-emotional skills -- they wanted students to master by the time they left school.

    Test-Stressed Out: Strategies for Improving Attitudes, Scores
    With the help of experts, give students in your school the practical tools they need to overcome test stress and do their best in math, writing, and more.