No, I won’t be sharing my opinion of EOC tests… but I will be sharing a few ideas for prepping students for EOCs or any other standardized test. Let me start by saying, I understand that other tests are set up differently and every suggestion that I give may not work for your students and your test – however try to glean one thing that might help!
For those of you who are not teachers – EOC stands for End of Course Exam. High School students in Florida in Algebra 1, Geometry, Biology and US History have to take and pass a test to get their credit for the course.
Top 5 – Things that I have found help my students increase their success on End of Course Exams!
1. Communication – tell the students everything that you can about the test! How many questions? Are they multiple choice? Short answer? Numeric response? Can they use a calculator? Are they restricted to the computer based calculator or can they use their own? How much time will they have? Will they get a break? What day are they testing on? What room are they testing in? Who is their proctor?
*** This eases students anxiety about the test. They are able to relax and focus on the content and not be concerned with the mechanics of testing!
2. Practice Test – Whether you are done with the material or not, reserve some time before the test to practice testing. I organize my room in a testing format, have their tests in a folder and don’t allow them to use any other calculator than what is allowed on the actual test. This gives the students a framework for taking a cumulative test on your material.
3. Reflect on the Practice Test – Whether you employ a method of looking at standards or simply have students to test corrections. Any reflection that they can do on the test will prepare them to do better on the next practice. If you missed my Standards Tracking post, check it out!
4. Have them track their success – We utilize Core K12 Testing throughout the year to track our kids growth and then I utilize a minimum of three practice EOC tests at the end of the year. I make the kids track their scores throughout the year. Most of them are able to see their scores increase over the year (with the exception of transfer students or those that don’t try on one of the tests). A simple three column spreadsheet will record all the data that you want: Date Taken, Test Name, Score.
5. Familiarize your students with the reference sheet – There are several ways to do this! Here is what has worked for me this year. I have a poster size reference sheet in my classroom and each student has a letter size one in their notebook or binder. They can use it on any test that we take during the year. As we finish a chapter or unit, we highlight the things that we have learned. Right before the EOC, students work in groups and are assigned a portion of the reference sheet to review. They create a poster board with sample questions related to their part of the reference sheet and these are shared with the class in a gallery style
Bonus: If you have a reference sheet that does not include everything (i.e.- our Geometry reference sheet doesn’t have Pythagorean theorem on it!), prepare students with the top five things that they need to memorize that are not on their reference sheet. They can write them down on their scrap paper as soon as they get into the testing room!
6. I couldn’t just have 5! I am an over-acheiver!
Encourage your students on the day of their test! Last year I did donuts and small bottles of water. This year I think I am going to do little bags of candy and bottles of water! Something that will give them the boost they need to do well!
Happy EOC/Finals/AP/All other testing Season!
May your hard work all year long pay off!