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[High-Stakes Assessment] 3 Ways Online Practice Can Support Your Test Prep Program

[High-Stakes Assessment] 3 Ways Online Practice Can Support Your Test Prep Program

Each year as January begins to tick away, and we get closer to spring, there is usually one thing that tends to be top of mind for many educators: high-stakes testing. But, that doesn’t have to mean lots of extra stress! If you’re proactive in your preparation efforts with students, you can all go into test day calm and confident. The right online tools can help facilitate designing a rigorous and effective test preparation program for your school or classroom, without monopolizing all of your time and effort.

In fact, research has shown that when students consistently log 30 minutes per week working in high-quality online practice programs they demonstrate significant academic gains. Edmentum’s own Marzano Research Lab-approved study confirmed these findings with our state standards-aligned classroom practice and assessment solution, Study Island. Need more convincing? Here are our top three reasons to embrace technology as a part of your test prep program!

1. Help students gain familiarity with online testing environments

High-stakes state assessments are administered online—and that’s a very different experience for students than the traditional #2 pencil test. Online tests feature technology-enhanced item types, like hot text, constructed response, and sequencing questions, to assess for deeper learning and concept mastery. Additionally, every online test is delivered via a unique user interface and navigation system.

While an online practice program may not exactly replicate the experience of your students’ online tests, it can serve as a close approximation, and help your students build confidence with tasks such as starting and stopping a session or accessing online support tools. If students aren’t familiar with item types and online testing environments, their score on test day could be as much a reflection of their ability to decode what they’re being asked to do as it is an assessment of their knowledge.

2. Easily implement formative assessment strategies

Even though it’s top of mind now, all educators know that test preparation starts when school begins in August and September. Implementing classroom assessment strategies that formatively monitor learning is one of the best ways to see how those ongoing efforts are working, track student progress, and pinpoint areas to work on when preparation crunch time hits. A strong classroom assessment strategy is all about utilizing quick, frequent, and low-pressure checks for understanding in the classroom.

Online tools can be a great resource for creating and utilizing effective standards-aligned activities, and building customized interim assessments. One of the many ways to formatively assess students in Edmentum’s Study Island is the popular Group Sessions feature! This feature gives educators the option to easily take the pulse of your classroom, while keeping students engaged with a competitive, fun way to learn.

3. Collect data to drive instruction

One of the greatest benefits of online tools is that they make it easy to gather and interpret data on your students’ progress. With quick access to actionable data, you can tailor your lesson plans and instruction with confidence, and ensure that you’re covering the skills and concepts your students need to practice ahead of high-stakes testing. In Study Island, our personal data dashboard feature, Sensei, tracks student progress in all assigned activities and presents that data in easy-to-read charts, graphs, and other visuals. You can quickly assign formative assessment activities and monitor student outcomes directly from the dashboard to gain insight into their learning and react in real time.

Interested in learning more about how Study Island can take your  test preparation efforts to the next level all year long? Check out our blog, 6 Tips for Ongoing Content Review with Study Island. Not a Study Island customer? Sign up for a free trial here!

This blog was originally published February 2018 by Sarah Cornelius and has been updated.

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Brittany Becker

Brittany Becker currently serves as a Marketing Specialist at Edmentum, and has been with the company since 2016. Before her time at Edmentum, Brittany studied both Early Childhood and 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.