Helping Students Pass Tests with Flying Colors

Oh boy, this is the next to last week of school. It’s hard to get anything really “done.” Everybody’s too excited (including the teacher)!!!

I do have to finish up testing, though. I model my assessment after the Illinois Early Learning Standard, but I also test in different ways though out the year.

Both my own academic experience and one that happened with a student a few years ago helped me recognize the need to test in different ways. I was teaching kindergarten in Cedar Rapids, Iowa when I had a student who just couldn’t do well in an assessment. (We had an assessment provided by the county that we gave four times a year.)

Jack struggled with identifying letter sounds and words. I taught and re-taught him. I tried every approach I could imagine to help this child learn … and he seemed to get it. But every time we sat down to do the assessment he did not do well.

Our reading series was the Scott Foresman whole language series. At the end of the year I used its assessment, which was done very differently from the county assessment. Jack passed with flying colors!

I asked Jack’s parents if they would consider having him tested. They did, and we found he had a learning disability. Jack did wonderfully verbally. That is, he could tell us the answers, but had great difficulty writing them.

I now test many different ways. One time I may show flashcards and have the students say the letter name, while the next time I may have the letter in front of the students and ask them to point to the letter I am saying.

Using multiple tests for the same material gives all students a chance to succeed. And it helps parents and educators understand how students learn and process best. If you don’t already use multiple methods for testing, try it. You might be happily surprised at the outcome. Some of your students will be!!

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