What to Know
#1. Understanding the Types of Tests - Understanding that there are varying types of assessments students are evaluated with is key. Knowing the terminology is certainly important for identifying what kind of an assessment a student is taking and its purpose.
A formative assessment is a test that measures a student's strengths and weaknesses. They are informal in nature and may include observations, quizzes, essays, diagnostic pretests, or review games.
Summative assessments are formal in nature and are standardized and are generally used to determine how a student is doing at the end of a unit, and include tests such as national and state assessments and college-entrance exams.
#2. Now what? How do I prepare for a test?
First, stay calm and realize that a test is, as a favorite professor of mine said, "...is just a snapshot in time." The test results show how well we did on that particular day. Sometimes we have good days. Sometimes we have bad days. Sometimes we feel like we can take over the world. Sometimes we feel nervous or anxious. We have all felt that way, including teachers but, we should always try to do our best. I ask my students, "Do you see any numbers on my forehead?" They usually laugh and say, "No!" I can tell by their expressions they are curious as to why I say that. I explain that you can never tell how someone does on a test unless they tell you. A test score does not define who you are." I remind them though, that as a teacher, we can't look inside your head to see what you know unless you tell us or show us, therefore you should always do your best not matter what test you are taking.
#3. You should always get a good night's sleep.
#4. Make sure you eat a good, nutritious breakfast so you have enough stamina and can do your best thinking.
#5. Familiarize yourself with the format of the test.
Know what is expected of you. Is the test multiple choice, essay, etc. ? How am I taking the test? - Paper/Pencil or on the Computer?
#6. Read everyday and Practice Rereading to gain Fluency.
#7. Build a strong sight word/high frequency vocabulary. Use a dictionary, context clues, etc.
#8. Discuss what you are reading: with a friend, parent, brother/sister, grandma/grandpa, etc.
#9. Write about what you are reading: a diary, a journal, reading log, essay, opinion, factual, summary, outline, graphic organizer, etc.
#10. Read a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts, poetry, and plays. Read a variety of genres and become familiar with each format and purpose: short stories, fables, myths, legends, poems, chapter books, picture books, biographies, autobiographies, etc. Read texts in all curriculum areas: math, science, social studies, health, music, art, sports.
Keep a positive attitude and believe that you will do your best!
Here are some suggestions for preparing for the upcoming NYS ELA Exam.
I have included links to websites for easy access, have put together a list of terms that the students should become familiar with, and some instructional strategies that you may want to use so the students have a variety of strategies in their “toolboxes” allowing them as many opportunities for success as possible.
“Knowledge is power.” Sir Francis Bacon
Website for Training Materials
NYS Ed Department
Power Point Training Guide – This PP Presentation explains:
- The shifts in the common core and how this translates into the types of reading materials the students are expected to read. ·
- How students are expected to make inferences and draw conclusions about the text and support their responses with evidence from the text.
· Gives opportunities to practice scoring
· Explains holistic scoring
Types of Questions and Strategies –
A great PDF file with types of questions students may encounter and how to respond.
Elementary Study Zone –
This is an invaluable site with hundreds of links for ELA, MATH and Social Studies strategies and skills.
Reading Resources -
A myriad of Fluency, Comprehension/Metacognitive Skills, and Vocabulary resources.
Literacy Learners Express -
Reading Quest -
THA Login: templehill1 Password: brainpop
Videos -Many topics including: Test Preparation and suggestions, Test-Taking Skills, Reading Skills and strategies, Context Clues, Critical Reasoning, Paraphrasing, Idioms, Main Idea, Fact vs. Opinion.
Students should be introduced to, be able to read, and understand these terms. I do not have a crystal ball but, from my past experience, a majority of these terms are used on the ELA. They are good for the students to know in general so, helping them understand their meanings seems important.
point of view
REAP – Read, Encode, Annotate, Ponder
UNWRAP – Underline the Title (Turn it into a question), Number the paragraphs, * Walk Through the Questions and Answers, Read the passage three times, Answer the Questions, Prove Your Answers.
*Note – Generally, paragraphs are numbered on the ELA Exams and the FSA Assessments.