Students who are confident in their ability to do well on a test will certainly do so. Don’t let your students miss the opportunity to show all they know by not taking time to review specific strategies for each of the question types they may encounter. Knowing that they will soon be taking part in annual state testing to determine progress in English language arts, I decide to use today’s class time to review how to approach multiple choice questions and open response questions.
During the lesson, each student takes notes in the manner that is most comfortable. Some open an electronic document and begin to type. Others turn to a new page in a notebook. Either way, the page is titled ‘MCAS Steps to Success.’ That title relates to the assessment system in this state, but you can easily change it to something else. In a whole class discussion, we move through the process of previewing and closely reading a text, determining how to answer different question types.
To wrap up the class, I ask students to personalize this document on test-taking skills. They each write a reflection for the three areas covered in the notes (reading the text, multiple choice questions and open response questions) by considering: What do I do well? What do I need to work on?