By Samantha Shaffner, District Gifted and Testing Coordinator at Marion City Schools in Marion, Ohio

Educators are challenged daily to find relevant and meaningful ways to assess student learning. So many of our students have a natural and intense fear of tests — and may even label themselves as “bad” at taking exams. Students need a foundation of preparation and practice for these situations in order to overcome fear and preconceived ideas. Ultimately, it’s our job as teachers to help students feel comfortable and confident during formative and summative assessments so they can focus on the subject and not the test-taking itself.

With Edulastic, it’s easy for classroom teachers to set learners up for success on state tests. The digital assessment platform lets teachers deliver academic content while teaching students the technical skills required to succeed on these assessments. 

Quotes from Samantha's students discussing how Edulastic helped them better prepare for the Ohio Spring ELA AIR test.
Edulastic’s many testing tools can help your students feel more comfortable during state tests.

Using Edulastic to familiarize students with testing structures

Students may not feel adequately prepared for state tests until they feel comfortable with the content, processes, and technology. Edulastic contains a suite of tools alongside a database of high-quality, standards-aligned materials which are presented in a technology-enhanced format. Using Edulastic, teachers can familiarize students with the testing structures they encounter on state exams. By testing season, students will have already experienced completing digital benchmark tests in the same circumstances they will have during state exams.

There are tons of ways to use Edulastic for formative assessments and to help students feel more comfortable during state tests. Here are six of my favorite ways Edulastic features help students prep and ultimately succeed. 

Testing interfaces can be changed to reflect your state’s test.

 6 test prep tips for teachers 

  1. Practice with the same look and feel as the test 

Assign relevant, standards-based content to ensure your students are as prepared and comfortable as possible. When assigning the content, select your state-specific interface so students can practice with the same look and feel as the actual test. 

  1. Provide descriptive feedback 

One of the most important ways to help students thrive in a testing environment is by providing descriptive feedback about their work and what they can specifically do to improve. Edulastic includes a variety of feedback mechanisms that give teachers opportunities to leave comments on student work, including criteria-specific rubrics, feedback options for tests and individual items, and instant release of feedback to students upon completing work in class.

  1. Ensure accurate and reliable results

Edulastic’s suite of assessment tools contains many anti-cheating tools and features (browser lockdown, shuffle questions, passwords, dynamic parameters) that discourage students from cheating and provide testing security. 

  1. Proctor a practice session 

Select a specified amount of time for a student to complete a practice test and facilitate a timed test for students using practice test items. Students can practice budgeting their time, noting how much time it takes them individually to read, consider answer choices, look for evidence, and construct writing responses (essays) under time pressure.

  1. Differentiate test experiences and scaffold supports

Increase equity and access for learners and adjust tests to provide common supports like text-to-speech and extended time for students where required. This individualized approach to formative assessment supports special education students by providing them with real accommodations. Scaffold supports over time as you practice test items on the platform with students. You can do this by modeling interaction with various question types and filling in the gaps for your students until they can do so themselves. You can also direct students to relevant accessibility features so they can leverage them on actual high-stakes tests.

  1. Leverage data insights to inform teaching and learning 

Take a quick glance or a deep dive into student assessment data with Edulastic’s data insights. The class LiveBoard provides teachers a window into each student’s progress on the test in real-time during class. Monitoring this information will allow for real-time interventions into potential misunderstandings or issues as they happen. Providing students with real-time feedback is the best solution to help students grow. 

And there you have it! With just a little practice, your students can face testing time with confidence because you helped them feel prepared with Edulastic!

About the Author

Samantha Shaffner is the District Gifted and Testing Coordinator at Marion City Schools in Marion, Ohio. During her 16 years in education, Samantha has the unique experience of having served in various roles across the teaching and administrative spaces, including secondary ELA teacher, instructional coach, assessment specialist and consultant, gifted and assessment coordinator, assistant principal, and teacher mentor.