Written by Sarah Murphy, Teaching Excellence Instructional Coach
Across the nation, classrooms are bustling as teachers urgently and effectively prepare students to demonstrate mastery on standardized tests, unit tests, and end of year assessments of all shapes and sizes. Targeted instruction and strategic re-teaching of objectives maximizes the likelihood that students will achieve success on any assessment. However, classroom instructors know that students need variety in these lessons; variety to engage students in the lessons as well as increase the likelihood that the content will be fully internalized. Here are 3 quick tips to maximize the impact of your test reviews:
1. Fun AND Accountability!
- Using a game such as Jeopardy! can engage students in an entertaining way of review. However, Jeopardy! can too frequently become a way for students to check out and not glean all that they should from the process if they rely too heavily on their peers to answer for them. In order to build accountability for all students, incorporate these tips to spice up your Jeopardy! procedures:
- Have all students write their answers on a blank Jeopardy! template. As the questions are ask, every student must write down their response. By the end of the game, they have every answer recorded. As they exit, hand them a sheet with the corresponding questions to help them see what their answers mean. Students now have a study guide and have received a class full of targeted review questions.
- Students can compete in table groups, AND table groups can only earn points if each participant has written down the answer to the question-accountability for each student as well as processing time through writing is then able to occur.
- When students are preparing for a written exam, consider having them prepare for this in groups. Students can analyze a prompt together and do the prep work with one another (break down the prompt and gather evidence). Once the pre-work is completed, students can participate in a ‘Pass the Paper Writing Relay’. Each student can write their thesis, then pass their paper to another table mate. Having students complete writing assignments as a team reinforces the steps which are critical for writing success and gives them many mini-practices in a short span of time.
3. Frequent Feedback!
Students need frequent feedback when preparing for a test. When students are reviewing material previously covered, they need feedback which insures that they are applying the content correctly. In addition to feedback from the instructor, utilize answer keys taped to various parts of the classroom walls. Once students have completed work on a particular objective, they may check their own work using the answer key provided. Or, assign a student helper to check student work and let them know how they are doing. Feedback is critical to student success, and the instructor cannot provide individual feedback to each student at all times, so build in ways for students and other resources to guide students towards academic success when you are not able to work with them individually.
What other ways do you review material for students?