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How to Use Assessments for Test Prep

In the Spring, test prep almost always means standardized tests. It's that BIG thing that stays in the back of our minds all year long. Even though we are preparing our students for the test every day in class, there's always a big push for test prep review at the beginning of Spring and rightfully so. We want our students to be successful after they have worked so hard all year long. Today, I'm going to share how to use assessments for test prep.

Using assessments for test prep is a great way to get your students prepared for your state math test.

Tests, Assessments, Quizzes

No matter what you choose to call them, they are all a form of measurement. When we give a test, quiz, or assessment we are measuring our students' knowledge of a particular skill or topic. 

Assessments are a part of every student's lives in school whether you are assessing math or any other subject. Practicing with assessments will help your students feel more comfortable when they are ready for the big test.
As teachers, we are constantly assessing our students both formally and informally. We assess their attitudes and moods as soon as they walk into our classroom in the mornings. We assess their social skills and peer relationships in the cafeteria and on the playground. We measure their reading fluency in small groups. The list goes on and on. Assessing students is a major part of our job whether we like it or not. 

Benefits of Assessments

Assessing students provides us with a wide range of data that we can use in many different ways. Most importantly, they let us know if our students have mastered a skill. 

The data provided to us through formal and informal assessments is invaluable.  This information lets us know if we need to go back and reteach an area, or if we are ready to move on to the next new skill. We can also see which students might need intervention or a little challenge.

Another great way to measure student growth is by giving a pre-test and a post-test.  This methodology allows us to really see how a student's skills have changed throughout an instructional unit.  

When we are thinking of test prep, assessments are a great tool for us to gauge which skills we need to spend more time reviewing and which ones just need a little bit of reinforcement. 

Use Assessments for Test Prep

Using assessments probably isn't the first thing you think of when it comes to test prep.  After all, who prepares for a test with a test.  But . . . some informal assessments like these skill-focused quizzes or exit tickets can actually help you plan out your test prep needs.  

Test prep season comes with a limited amount of time. Don't waste that precious time focusing on something your students have already mastered.  Using assessments to guide your test prep will allow you to be very intentional with the time you have.

Begin with a Plan

The thought of prepping for a standardized test can be overwhelming. 

Planning out practice activities weeks before your state test will help keep you and your students on track as you prepare for the big test.
The best thing to do is come up with a plan that you can follow. If you want help with this I have developed a daily plan to help you review all of the fourth grade standards. 

I have a 3-week plan and a 5-week plan so you can choose the one that best fits your needs.  

I teach in Texas, so this plan is based on TEKS. However, there are many similarities between TEKS, Common Core, and other state standards.

I know you'll find the plan extremely helpful no matter where you are located.

Start Working

Keep your students engaged as they prepare for the state test with lots of different activities that challenge them in different ways.
Test prep review comes in many shapes and forms. 

I have found it best to mix up activities to keep them interesting and keep my students engaged. 

The last thing they want to do is complete another worksheet. I love to incorporate many different activities for test prep. 

Some of my favorites are games, puzzles, and task cards. These interactive activities are hands-on and super effective for review. 

Assessments are also a great tool for test prep. 

Use Assessments for Review

You may call them assessments, quizzes, morning work, bell ringers, or even exit tickets. The name doesn't matter! They all do the same job and they provide you with a wealth of information as you prepare your students for the test. 

I have a quiz set for each and every math standard. Throughout the years, I have used them in several different ways. 

Assessments are a great way to review with your students, giving you a good idea of areas where your students need improvement.
One year, I used them as a pre-assessment before we began reviewing each standard. This allowed me to really see where my class was in regards to the standard to know how much time I needed to spend on it and what areas I needed to focus on. 

Another year I used the quizzes as a post-assessment after I reviewed each standard. This showed me if we had 100% mastery or who I needed to pull for some intervention time. 

You can also use them for both. A pre-test and post-test of the standard you are reviewing will provide you with the whole picture. 

Assessments are a wealth of knowledge and can be super beneficial if we use the data correctly. They are the best place to look when deciding what you need to teach or do next.  

Have Some Fun

Kids like to turn everything into a game or a competition. So, that's exactly what you can do when you use assessments for test prep. I don't like to have them compete against each other or the class. I prefer to have them compete against themselves. This way they are celebrating any and all growth as an achievement. 

Make your test prep fun with games and activities your students will love. This makes test prep easier on everyone.
You can set up a simple assessment folder with a graph so they can track their progress. Be sure to celebrate all of their gains, even the small ones! 

A celebration can be a piece of candy, a 2-minute dance party, or a surprise "bragging rights" call to mom. Have fun with it! Celebrations will make the test prep process so much more fun for you and your students. 

Assessments for Test Prep All in One Place

Now that you've learned how to use assessments for test prep, it's time to give it a try.   If you don't have easy access to skill-based assessments then I've got you covered.  I have a short daily quiz for each of the math standards. Each quiz contains 5 standardized testing-style questions. They are the perfect way to review and check your students' knowledge before the big test. 

You'll love that they are no-prep and ready to go. The quizzes are available in both print and digital formats. This bundle contains 21 quizzes so you can be sure all standards are covered. You can also check out all of my test prep assessments available here in my TPT store. 

These daily quizzes are a great way to get in some practice and identify areas where you students still need some practice before the big state test.

I hope you now have some ideas to hit the ground running with test prep. I know you and your students will do amazing!

AND...this great resource is included in a SPRING BUNDLE that thirty of my closest math friends have put together.  Check it out to get over 90% OFF of the resources March 23-29!

Save it for Later

Be sure to save this to your favorite math or test prep Pinterest board so you can easily come back when you are ready to use assessments for test prep in your classroom.

Using assessments for test prep is a great way to get your students prepared for your state math test.

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