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Build High-Stakes Testing Confidence with Study Island

Build High-Stakes Testing Confidence with Study Island

Every year, high-stakes testing comes around and provokes a variety of emotions and stressors for both students and teachers, and this year is no different. Coming off last year’s assessment results, which showed that many students needed immense learning recovery, educators everywhere are tightening up their assessment strategies to support students on the forthcoming tests.

Testing confidence is a key ingredient when it comes to ensuring that students are successful during spring assessments—but how do you cultivate that quality during a notoriously tense season? With Study Island, Edmentum’s K–12 practice and assessment program, educators are empowered with the tools to instill assessment confidence in their students, as well as to create opportunities for embedded, standards-aligned test preparation in their classrooms. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can use our tried-and-true standards mastery program to help students feel more confident in their test preparation:

Using the Student Dashboard

When building high-stakes confidence within Study Island, it all starts with the student dashboard. Upon logging in, students are met with a home screen designed to support their assessment preparation management strategies organized into four main tiles.

  1. The “Blue Ribbons Earned This Year” tile gives students a real-time reflection of how many test topics they’ve mastered, as well as serves as a motivational tool to continue mastering standards-aligned skills.
  2. The “Suggested Topics” tile guides students to pursue topics they are struggling with and provides them with easy-to-navigate, direct links to the instructional content and practice they still need to master. This puts students in the driver’s seat when working toward mastery and makes it simple for them to reflect on their progress within the program.
  3. The “In Progress Topics” tile is exactly what it sounds like—a spot for students to pick back up where they left off on topics they are currently working on, helping to instill independence as they work in the program. This also works as a support to educators, as they can feel confident knowing that their students are able to get right to work in Study Island with little or no guidance as to where to begin.
  4. The “Active Assignments” tile gives students a basic report of how they are doing over multiple topics. This report is designed with the student in mind, and it gives them a bird’s-eye view of their progress, helping to initiate discussions with their teachers to address what’s next.

How can each of these tiles work as a stepping stone for students to ace their high-stakes assessments? Encourage your students to view the dashboard as a tool by building an explicit test-preparation strategy with them aligning to the dashboard with timely goals, rewards systems, and scheduled data reflection. Hear more about these test-prep planning strategies and ways to utilize the student dashboard in following short clip from the OnDemand webinar, Build High-Stakes Confidence with Study Island:

Empowering Family Support

As high-stakes assessments come and go each year, we are all asked to consider the best strategies to prepare students. Creating parent and family support is an ongoing, complex, and essential component to ensuring that your students are successful. Reengaging these support systems during test-prep season strategically empowers families to support their students effectively and also complements how the other stakeholders (teachers, administrators, and students) are contributing.

An effective way to create buy-in from families is to provide the tools they need to feel as though they can take action and are heading in the right direction. This can be done by creating “test-prep support packs” with materials that support three major components: a vehicle to learn more about Study Island, a list of support strategies, and data to inform their support.

  1. Family Resources to Learn More About Study Island: To bring families up to speed, check out Edmentum’s resource section for families, where stakeholders will find a specific Study Island callout with parent letters, student guides, and getting-started resources.
  2. Support Strategies for Testing: To assist with support strategies, you can head over to Edmentum’s Test-Prep Toolkit page, where you’ll find resources to help parents understand the type of support needed from them for both academic and emotional success on test day and ways to provide it.
  3. Parent and Family Data: The third component in your test pack should establish a line of communication between the school and family, equipping all stakeholders with mastery data and behavior/emotional data to ensure student success on the upcoming assessment. An easy way to achieve this is through Study Island’s parent notification feature, where you can align notifications sent home with what students are keeping track of in class. For more information on how to set up these notifications, plus a deeper dive into each of the components of a solid test-prep support pack, check out this clip:

Balancing Instruction and Test Prep

All of this test-prep talk might make you wonder—will I have time for daily instruction when preparing my students for high-stakes testing? With Study Island, you don’t have to teach to the test to prepare your students for state assessments. By simply incorporating Study Island into instruction each day, your students will get the practice they need to develop standards-aligned mastery, saving you instructional time. Additionally, students who spent at least 30 minutes per week practicing online experienced significantly more growth outcomes than those who did not Let’s take a look at two features and strategies that will allow you to move from teaching directly into data-driven intervention: content search and Sensei.

Content Search:

Study Island’s content search feature empowers educations to integrate and assign formative assessments faster with a streamlined interface. With filters to search by subject, topic, and standard, content search gives you the opportunity to align your assigned work to specific test-preparation goals through lessons, flash cards, and practice. The best part is that all of these tools are already created for you, saving you time and energy, and as students work on these practice assignments, all data are collected and delivered directly to educators through Sensei.


Sensei, Study Island’s dynamic data dashboard, helps teachers figure out in just a couple of easy, intuitive clicks the exact standards that individual students need help with and the standards that potentially need to be retaught to the class. The dashboard is also color-coded to quickly identify which students need to be included in a reteaching of a skill.

To take a closer look at both features and the strategies we suggest to effectively use them for test preparation, review this clip:

Building testing confidence into your daily instruction can seem like a daunting task, but taking the time to break down steps with a tool like Study Island will make it quicker and easier. So, take a deep breath and follow these tips and tricks aligned to Study Island to put your students well on their way to acing high-stakes tests. If you’re looking for more resources for  how to build a test-prep strategy with Study Island, check out the blog post, Ace the Test: Building a Test-Prep Strategy with Study Island.

If you’re not yet a Study Island customer but you want to try out this test-preparation strategy for yourself, sign up for a free trial to see for yourself why educators love Study Island.

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Brittany Voges

Brittany Voges currently serves as a Content and Social Media Specialist at Edmentum, and has been with the company since 2016. Before her time at Edmentum, Brittany studied Elementary Education, and eventually went on to teach 4th grade in Title 1 schools. Because of her background in education, Brittany is passionate about providing educators across the United States and the world with the tools and best practices to empower their students each day in the classroom.