Student Test Help

Helping students pass high-stakes tests


With few exceptions, conversations with teachers, administrators and parents everywhere in the United States tend to focus on the great challenge of helping students learn effectively, improve academic performance, and successfully pass the high-stakes achievement tests necessary for grade promotion and graduation.

Teachers can use a number of techniques to help support and prepare their students for test taking as well as for academic and life-long success. Using the acronym “TEST SCORES” can be a key to remembering the following tips for teachers when it comes to helping students take tests:

Teach for the test, not to the test.
Expect the best; accept no less.
Structure with cooperative learning.
Teach test-taking strategies explicitly.

Stress prelearning strategies.
Chunk the material for deep understanding.
Organize with graphics.
Reflect through mediation.
Express ideas with mnemonic devices and visual cues.
Seek student choices in learning situations.

Preparing students for testing

In addition to encouraging and motivating students to do well on standardized tests, teachers, administrators and parents can also employ a number of specific strategies that can have a significant, positive effect on students’ scores.

  • Teachers, administrators, parents and students must familiarize themselves with tests.
  • Recognize that there is a great variance among tests.
  • Align the curriculum with the state standards and teach for the test.
  • Teach test-taking techniques.
  • Allow for practice testing with sample questions.
  • Schedule time for student development and practice.
  • Take advantage of summer-school programs.
  • Encourage students to take the test as soon and as often as possible.
  • Be positive.


What the research says

The research indicates that individual classroom teachers can have a powerful effect on student learning and success on standardized tests. Students are more successful on standardized tests when teachers structure learning tasks in conjunction with the expectations of the tests and when teachers help them develop confidence in test taking.

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