Tips to Help Students Prepare for MCAS (April 2017)

By: Kate Jacobs, Inclusive Instructional Specialist

As we head into the time of the year for MCAS Assessments, we want to support you with supporting your students. Below are a few strategies to support our students during this busy time.

Explaining the purpose of the test is the first step. Explaining to students the purpose of the test can decrease misunderstandings that students have. Students can ask clarifying questions, and the teacher can respond to each or create a question and answer box.  

Practicing and studying for the test can also be fun, and there are creative ways to do this within the classroom.
  • Review math concepts in a Jeopardy Game
  • Create comprehension questions that are either a single, a double, and a triple and call it comprehension baseball
  • Guess My Essay Score: Share essays that receive 4 points, 3, 2, 1 and ask students the points they think that essay deserves and why so that they learn what is expected to get a 4 point essay.
Creating a testing environment that feels relaxed, and safe is very important. Clearly outline test-taking expectations from the beginning. Include your students with developing these expectations and a dialogue about why it is important to be silent during testing so that students know the importance for their friends and create classroom community.  

Teaching students strategies for when they get stuck. For example, skip it and come back or read the question again. Students should learn to have positive self-talk during test; such as “I can do this”, “Just stay focused”, or my favorite “I won’t give up”. During this time it is easy to get stressed and overly anxious about your students doing well. Preparing students by being mindful of the strategies they need and  reviewing skills in  fun and creative ways are just a few tips to help our students during this time.
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