How to use goal-setting and test prep to help students confidently “take on the test” this year is easier than it sounds! Test prep season is here – whether we agree with standardized testing or not – it happens. So, why not make the best of it and set your students up for success?
As you begin reviewing key concepts in reading and math in preparation for standardized testing, it’s also a good time to think about how your students “see” this time of year and the emphasis on test scores.
Can you imagine that it’s pretty intimidating for some of them?
Many times our students know what they don’t know and it’s not fun for them.
But, teaching kids to have a growth mindset means we need to help them overcome their feelings of intimidation and fear and persevere with difficult things…like mastering a difficult math concept or comprehending difficult text.
If we can help a student set up specific strategies to address their learning needs – they will have the tools to conquer it and confidently “take on the test”!
That’s why I love setting SMART goals with students.
Here’s how I do it:
1. Gather student data on all the standards that will be tested.
2. Make a list of those standards and which students need help mastering them.
Goal Setting with Students
In order not to overwhelm a student, choose one standard to begin with. Better yet, let them choose which standard they would like to work on. Buy-in from the student is essential when goal setting.
For example, in reading a student may need to focus on the main idea and key details – for math, it might be 3 digit addition with regrouping.
The Goal Worksheet
Using these goal-setting worksheets will make it much easier for you and your students. They are set up for SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-specific.
Helping students be specific with their goals is the most important element. You can’t achieve something that is too vague or too big. Remember – we are trying to increase their confidence.
During test prep, we can set goals for specific standards.
Example: I will be able to find the main idea and 3 key details in a grade-level text.
Whatever the goal is – we must be able to measure it. For our example goal – you can measure this by giving a student four grade-level texts and asking them to identify the main idea and 3 key details in each one.
Is the goal attainable? If your student is reading at grade level – the answer can be yes. But if your student is reading below grade level – the answer may be no and you need to look for a standard/skill that they can attain.
If this is an attainable goal, let’s help the student make a plan to attain it. What specific steps will they take to achieve it?
1. To find the main idea, I need to think about what the topic is and what the author wants me to know.
2. I can look for 3 key details that the author wants me to know about the topic.
3. I can connect the 3 key details to what the text is all about.
Now, every time the student is trying to find the main idea and key details of a text – they have very specific steps to take.
Is the goal realistic? Can we confidently say that this student can reach this goal before standardized testing? Do they believe they can reach this goal?
This is one of the most important elements of goal setting – making realistic, attainable goals that are setting students up for success and not a disappointment when they can’t reach it.
When setting goals, we must set a time period for achievement – especially if it’s for standardized testing.
Again, we want to be realistic. Can they achieve it in the time frame they have?
Tracking Practice Data
Use these editable data tracking graphs for test prep standards practice. You can easily edit them to fit any goals you set with your students.
Achieving Their Goals
Waiting until we get test scores back is way too late to celebrate the achievement of student goals. Many times those scores are released after school is out for the summer.
Plan to give formative assessments to your students to measure goal achievement. Then – CELEBRATE IT! These goal achievement certificates are just the thing you need! Your students can proudly take home their certificates and share them with family. You know there’s a special spot on the refrigerator for it!
Plus, when your students sit down to take their state test – their confidence will be soaring…and sometimes that’s the most important part of test-taking.
Using goal setting with test prep will help students confidently “take on the test” this year! This packet of goal-setting resources will make it so easy for you to help each of your students prep for the state test this year!
Grab this FREE Goal Setting Resource
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