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GlobalED Solutions

School, Family, Community

  • Writer's pictureMorgan Lambert

How to Prepare Online Students for State Testing

During the month of April, many students across the nation will be required to complete state mandated testing and/or College Board tests such as SAT/PSAT. For students in online schools, how can families best ensure that their students are prepared for these high-stakes tests?

Keep up with grade level coursework

State and national tests are aligned to state and national standards for grade level curriculum. This means that one of the best ways students can make sure they are prepared for these assessments is to be consistently working in their grade level curriculum. Online students do have the flexibility to work on their own schedule and focus on one or two classes at a time. However, the schedule they choose should include consistent work in core content areas like English and Math, especially as testing season approaches.

Use practice resources

Practice resources are readily available online. Students can see they types of questions they will encounter and can practice answering them. They can even take entire “practice tests”. While focusing all learning efforts on test preparation is not recommended, taking time to try out some practice questions will help students to be more at ease on the day of the test. Practicing in advance also gives them time to discuss with their teachers any questions they don’t understand, because once the actual test begins, they will be on their own.

Prepare to use testing technology

More and more standardized tests are moving online. Even SAT/PSAT has made the shift to a digital platform for the first time in 2024. Online students are already accustomed to using digital systems and platforms to complete daily assignments, so they should feel comfortable taking their high-stakes tests online as well. However, they may need to check to make sure their device is compatible with the test they will be taking. For instance, for SAT/PSAT, their school will install the testing app, and once it is installed, students can use the app to access practice resources as well.  It is a good idea to practice using the app, as well as any other digital resources that are allowed. For instance, will the student be using an embedded online calculator or a hand-held model?  If so, do they know how to use it to solve difficult math problems? If the student uses accommodations such as text-to-speech, are they going to be comfortable using their headset and the allowable technology on test day?

Test preparation does not have to involve hours and hours spent with a tutor, drilling questions or being in a classroom where a teacher “teaches to the test”. It can reflect a more well-rounded approach in which students build confidence in their grade level course work, use practice resources to familiarize themselves with specific tests, and become comfortable with the technology they will be using on test day. This way, the test can truly be an accurate measure of how the student is learning and achieving their academic goals.

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