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For suggestions on how to assess students see: Assessment Suggestions

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How can I prepare my students for assessments?

This question has been sent to the T2T service by teachers of many different grade levels. Teachers and school systems assess students with a variety of tools, including standardized achievement tests, mastery tests, in-class tests, performance assessments, baseline assessments, and portfolio assessments. There are countless ways to prepare students, depending on the type of assessment being used. While this page contains many methods, it is just a place to start.

A teacher must understand what the assessment measures. Many standardized tests are not available for parents and teachers to view. Instead, information can be obtained directly from the test companies or from school administrators. What math topics will be covered? Is it a multiple choice test? What skills, strategies and problem-solving methods are involved?

It is also important to prepare students mentally so that test anxiety does not interfere with performance. Here is part of a response that Jenny Salls, one of our Teacher2Teacher Associates, wrote in an answer to a parent:
"Before you and your daughter go crazy worrying about preparing her for this test, I'd consider just concentrating on general common sense strategies - how to take a test, what to do if your answer isn't one of the choices they give (my son marked the "closest answer" rather than realizing that meant he'd made a mistake), the fact that you don't speed through it so you can read your favorite book when you finish, etc. Check with her teacher and school about what they plan to do to prepare students for the test and what you can do to help. And remember, it's one snapshot of your daughter's capabilities, not the entire photo album."

Standardized assessment:

The College Board
This site offers a way for educators to stay on top of test requirements, deadlines, and dates, and provides tools and resources that help them advise students about academic preparation and guide them in practicing for the SAT, finding and applying to the colleges that are right for them, and planning for college costs.

Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT)
The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT)is a test given to different grade levels across the state of Florida. In the fifth grade, the test is focused on math. This tutorial will prepare you for the different types of questions that are on the test.

Illinois Standards Achievement Tests (ISAT)
The Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) measures individual student achievement and shows how well students and schools are performing relative to the Illinois Learning Standards. ISAT tests measure student progress in meeting the Learning Standards. The test is given at specific times in a student's educational career, however it is not grade specific. The ISAT results identify areas of strength and weakness for students and schools. Online sample tests are available at this site.

Regents Exam Prep Center - Mathematics A
This site contains actual Regents Examinations that have been used in the past. It includes answer keys and scoring rubrics. All are available for downloading.

Stanford 9 (SAT9) by Harcourt, Inc.
To respond to the changing needs of today's educators, this new edition offers levels of flexibility, customization, and access to information never before available with a national achievement test.

Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS)
he TAAS test measures proficiency of the objectives presented in the Texas curriculum. Parents can gain insight into the actual exam given to their children by viewing the sample tests available in both English and Spanish.

Authentic/Performance assessment and rubrics:

Assessment and Rubric Information
A comprehensive list of links from Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators site.

Exemplars is meant to assist teachers, schools and districts implement authentic assessment and problem solving in their classrooms and to meet the challenging new standards developed in mathematics, science and humanities at the national, state and ...more>>

Ideas and Rubrics by Chicago Public Schools Instructional Intranet


T2T discussions about assessment:

Please define: (1.) Authentic assessment (2.) Alternative assessment (3.) Performance assessment...view discussion>>

Math assessment
How do I get my students to do better on the short and extended response questions included in math assessment? ...view discussion>>

Regents Exam
Do you know where you can find the January 1997 math course, Three Regents?...view discussion>>

Does anyone have information on dynamic assessment? ...view discussion>>


Ask Dr. Math resources:

Why Study Math? How to Study Math - Math Forum, Ask Dr. Math FAQ
Why do we need to learn math? When are we ever going to use it in real life? Math study tips. ...more>>

AP Calculus Test
My students will be taking the AP Calculus test. How can I help them prepare?


Books for reference:

Here are some suggested books that can be used to increase test-taking skills linked to
Barron's Sat I How to Prepare for the Sat I
by Sharon Weiner Green, Ira K. Wolf

The Mad Minute: A Race to Master the Number Facts
by Paul Joseph Shoecraft, Terry James Clukey (Contributor)

Math for Smart Test-Takers : Sat, Psat, Act, Gre, Gmat (Arco Academic Test Preparation)
by Mark Alan Stewart

Multiplication/Rap Version (Rock 'N Learn)
by Brad Caudle, Richard Caudle, Bart Harlan (Illustrator)

Test Preparation
selection of books available through

Times Tunes: 12 Super-Fun Songs and Hands-On Activities That Teach the Multiplication Facts
by Marcia Miller, Martin Lee (Contributor)


Resources on the Web:

Classic Fallacies: 1=2 A Proof
Activities for high-school students and teachers: "convincing" proof (using beginning algebra) that 1 equals 2--and other classic fallacies. Can you discover what is wrong with each of them?

Flashcards for Kids - CANITech, Los Alamitos, CA
A working flashcard application on the net! Handles addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and addition and subtraction [together], in simple or complex forms (only two numbers, or up to ten numbers), with choice of numbers from 0-9, 0-99, or 0-999. You can also keep score of your attempts, if you wish. more>>

Japanese Math Challenge
The story problems provided here are translated from Japan's Junior High School math placement test. This test is given to 12 year olds and each section of the full test consists of 225 story problems.

General Math - Education 4 Kids
Games include Flashcards, Early Math, Math Square, Math Tables more>>

Time Math - Education 4 Kids
Games include Time Math, Time Flashcards, Time Compare, Time Difference, Time and Date. more>>

Money Math - Education 4 Kids
Games include Money Math, Money Count, Making Change, Spending Money, Piggy Bank Breakin. more>>

The Math Forum Problems of the Week - [requires membership to access]
Over 1,100 engaging problems to develop problem-solving skills, mathematical communication, and topics from basic operations through calculus.

Sleek Software Corporation
Commercial software designed to provide tutorials for the TAAS (Texas), FCAT (Florida) and ISAT (Illinois).

Test Prep Review is a free service of a group of educators, created to provide free practice test questions for students in a variety of career situations. The site contains a modular approach to learning the content on these exams. Information is included to help the user get the maximum value from his/her testing experience.

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