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How to Build Test Prep into Instruction with Study Island

How to Build Test Prep into Instruction with Study Island

You don’t have to teach to the test to prepare your students for state assessments. In our recent live webinar, Built-In Test Prep with Study Island, we discussed that, by simply incorporating Study Island into instruction each day, your students will get the practice they need to develop deep mastery and demonstrate what they know on state assessments. All the while, you’ll gain valuable data to guide your instruction, saving you time and work.

In this blog post, you will get an overview of the steps you need to follow to use Study Island to build test preparation into instruction. And, you can watch the full webinar recording for additional details. Don’t have a Study Island subscription? Sign up for a free trial, and see for yourself why over 150,000 educators love Study Island.

Step 1: Identify your priority standards

The first step to building test preparation into your current instruction is to identify your priority standards because there likely isn’t enough time between now and the test to cover a year’s worth of content. A good place to start is by analyzing state blueprints and released tests to identify which standards are assessed most prominently on the state test. In most states, there are few key standards or skills that are covered more than others. Focus your efforts on the standards that correspond to the most questions on the test.

Step 2: Determine what your students know and what they don’t

Once you’ve identified your priority standards, it’s time to determine each student’s level of mastery of those standards. Data from a recent benchmark assessment will provide the information you need, and if your students have been using Study Island throughout the school year, performance data from within the program will also provide standards-mastery data. If you don’t have recent assessment data, utilize Study Island’s full-length Benchmarks that are built from your state assessment, or use Test Builder to build a custom assessment from Study Island’s standards-based items. Either way, you will save time by not having to write assessment items or even grade the tests, and the results are immediately available.

Another source of insight into your students’ strengths and weaknesses is their state assessment data from the previous school year; look for patterns that demonstrate gaps in student learning. Also, review last year’s scores from your previous students. Those results may help you diagnose blind spots in your instruction or locate areas on the assessment that students tend to struggle with.

Step 3: Establish where Study Island can be incorporated within your current instructional activities

To build test prep into instruction, review your current instructional activities, and determine which activities you can use Study Island for. Study Island questions are built from state standards and designed to be similar to those used on your state test, so as your students are working in the program, they are engaging in test preparation. Here is a list of common instructional activities that Study Island can be used for:

  • Bell ringer/warm-up
  • Exit ticket
  • Pretest
  • Quiz
  • Practice
  • Unit test
  • Homework

To determine how Study Island fits into your classroom, watch the following webinar clips in which I demo three key features of Study Island and show how they can be integrated into instruction.

Group Sessions

The Group Sessions feature of Study Island is a favorite because you can conduct a live classroom response session in which students respond on their tablets, laptops, smartphones, or other Internet-connected devices. Group Sessions are great for getting in-the-moment responses, and students love the game-based modes.

Here’s how webinar attendees envisioned using Group Sessions for built-in test prep in their classrooms:

Practice Sessions

Practice Sessions are perfect for independent, student-paced work, and students can use them in game mode, earning a fun, brain-break game for correct responses.

Here’s how webinar attendees envisioned using Practice Sessions for built-in test prep in their classrooms:

Test Builder

Test Builder allows you to build custom assessments with the exact standards and questions you want to include. This feature is great for when you want a more formalized testing experience, and it works well for unit tests, end-of-semester tests, and even weekly quizzes.

Now that you’re ready to build test prep into your day-to-day instruction, give your students extra motivation by registering for the Study Island 2020 Spring Questions Contest. Your school and students can win amazing prizes just by answering questions correctly!

regina.waddell's picture

Regina Waddell is a marketing manager at Edmentum and over the past 8 years has helped both educators and Edmentum employees learn how to successfully implement technology in the classroom. Before her time at Edmentum, Regina spent seven years teaching; two years helping students increase their scores on college entrance exams in the private sector, and five teaching bilingual education in Dallas, TX. Regina holds a BBA from Austin College and an M.Ed in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Texas at Arlington.

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