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Exit Tickets

By |2021-04-30T09:56:01-05:00August 26th, 2019|Categories: Teaching Strategies, Testing Strategies & Prep|Tags: , |

Every teacher struggles from time to time with the art of closing a lesson effectively. We all know the importance of wrapping up the lesson, linking it to prior knowledge, and building anticipation for the next lesson. Ideally, that daily wrap-up should include some quick from of assessment or check for understanding that you can use to inform your instruction for the next day. One quick and effective way to do just that is through the use of an exit ticket.

The Importance of Ongoing Checks for Understanding

By |2021-04-30T10:08:16-05:00August 1st, 2019|Categories: Lesson & Curriculum Planning, Teaching Strategies, Testing Strategies & Prep|Tags: , |

Many people often think that a formal assessment is a sufficient way to check their students’ understanding. While these assessments are certainly useful to determine your students’ level of content mastery at the end of a unit, checking for understanding is something that should happen regularly throughout a lesson.

Using Aggressive Active Monitoring to Maximize Student Learning

By |2021-04-30T10:17:02-05:00March 18th, 2019|Categories: Classroom Management, Teaching Strategies, Testing Strategies & Prep|Tags: , |

It is now independent practice time for your lesson, and to an outside observer it appears that students are silent, working hard, and grappling with task at hand.  All looks well, but how do know that students are actually mastering the material they are working on and will be ready for your planned exit ticket or mini assessment?

This is where Active Monitoring comes in.  One of the major responsibilities of a teacher during independent work is to actively gather real-time, objective-aligned data that will enable direct action when student misconceptions are identified. A more focused, strategic example of Active Monitoring, Aggressive Monitoring, can be highly effective in catching student misunderstandings and ensuring student mastery prior to the actually assessment.  In this article, we will provide a detailed overview of how to use Aggressive Monitoring in your classroom.

The Value of Rubrics for Assessment

By |2020-01-05T21:49:32-06:00December 17th, 2018|Categories: Lesson & Curriculum Planning, Testing Strategies & Prep|

In what year did World War II begin? What type of energy is generated from the sun? How many cookies are in 15 boxes if there are 6 cookies in each box? These types of questions are easy to assess. The student response is either right, or it’s wrong. You can simply assign a point value to each question and easily determine a grade. But what about when your students are sharing an oral presentation and slideshow about an endangered animal they spent an entire week researching? Or if they are writing a personal narrative about a special moment in their life? How about if they are conducting a scientific investigation on the states of matter and submitting a detailed lab report? How do you assess these types of assignments fairly where there is so much room for variation in quality? In these cases, a rubric is exactly what you need.

Using Text Evidence to Respond to Questions

By |2020-01-05T22:22:18-06:00September 17th, 2018|Categories: Testing Strategies & Prep, Writing Instruction|

I regularly tell my students, “Reading tests are completely manageable. The evidence is right in front of you, you just have to take the time to find it.” So often, students rush through a multiple choice test, not giving much thought to each individual answer and just choosing one that sounds accurate. Or they may have to draft a written response to a short answer question, and instead of pulling specific details from the text, they write a too brief, generic response in very vague terms. If you find this is the case with some of your students, you can teach them specific strategies to use when they are tackling any reading assessment.

The Importance of a Growth Mindset for Students

By |2020-01-05T22:27:01-06:00September 10th, 2018|Categories: Leadership Development, Social Emotional Learning, Testing Strategies & Prep|

We’ve all heard a student complain, “This is too hard, I’ll never understand.” Or maybe even, “I’m not a math person, I just don’t get it.” These statements both reflect a fixed mindset, and one of our responsibilities as educators is to encourage a shift in our students from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. According to Dr. Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University and a leading researcher in the field of motivation, a growth mindset is the “understanding that abilities and intelligence can be developed.” Once students have this mindset, watch their confidence soar! Even as they face academic struggles, they will understand that the struggle is part of the process of learning.

The San Diego Quick Assessment

By |2020-01-05T22:34:33-06:00August 21st, 2018|Categories: Reading/ELA Instruction, Teaching Strategies, Testing Strategies & Prep|

If you are looking for a quick way to get a general idea of a new student’s reading level, the San Diego Quick Assessment may be the right tool for you!

Some educational diagnostic tools truly stand the test of time! The San Diego Quick Assessment is certainly one of those tools. In 1969, Margaret La Pray and Ramon Ross created 13 lists of 10 words each based on grade level. These lists range from pre-primer and primer through eleventh grade. Originally published in Journal of Reading, these word lists are now available online and can be used by educators as a method to determine a student’s reading level.

How To Analyze The STAAR Reading Test Using Lexile or ATOS

By |2020-06-29T11:21:39-05:00September 10th, 2017|Categories: Lesson & Curriculum Planning, Reading/ELA Instruction, Teaching Strategies, Testing Strategies & Prep, Writing Instruction|

Have you chosen a passage for your students to read in class but weren’t sure whether the level of complexity was right?  Do you wonder about the real Lexile® level of STAAR passages or other standardized tests?  Or, perhaps you’d like to type up your own sample passages for students, but want to make sure you are writing text at the appropriate level for your students.

This post will review two sources to help you analyze texts more deeply, so that you can provide your students the right level of texts to help move them towards mastery of their grade level standards.

SAT vs. ACT – Which One Should You Take

By |2020-06-29T11:38:56-05:00November 15th, 2016|Categories: Parent Involvement, Testing Strategies & Prep|

With the recent changes made to the SAT®, the ACT and SAT are now quite similar.  Despite this, there are still some major differences to consider.  Students who are getting started with the college admission process may be considering which test makes the most sense for them based on their individual skills and comfort level.  To help these students make this critical decision, we have assembled a list of factors every student should consider when deciding if they should take the ACT, SAT or both.  Use the following criteria to help you decide as you prepare for the college admission process.  Getting started on the right foot by choosing a test that works best for you, may make the difference between getting that scholarship or getting into your top-choice school.

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