Administering state testing is never fun or easy, but there are some ways to make it less stressful for you and your students.
The ideas below are tried and tested by other special education teachers and may help make this state testing season a bit easier for you.
Remember, not all of the tips will work for every situation so pick and choose the ideas that will be the most effective for your classroom.
Ways to Make Administering State Testing Less Horrible
It’s normal to feel like a character from Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day during state testing time. It is typically a week or more of stress, being out of routines, and shuffling students and teachers from one spot to another.
It is definitely not a time for the faint of heart.
Hopefully, these tips for administering state testing will help!
Tip 1: If Possible, Test In Your Room
Students in special education usually thrive when they have a routine to follow. If at all possible, complete the testing in your classroom. Some states mandate that the test should be administered elsewhere, but where possible, stay in the classroom.
This makes it more familiar for your students and makes it easier on you as all of your supplies and materials are right there for you. If you need to section yourself or the testing student off from the rest of the classroom, use a desktop divider that will create privacy.
Tip 2: Rotate Students When Testing Individually
It’s always important to know your students, but knowing how long they can sit and concentrate is especially important when administering state testing. Instead of completing all of one student’s testing at a time, rotate through your students so that no one has to sit and concentrate for a long time. It will take the same amount of time as if you tested one child all day long before moving to the next, but it will space out the testing for all students.
Tip 3: Have an Aide Work with the Other Students
Let your para take over more responsibility during state testing time and manage the rest of the students while you test students individually. It is not realistic to think that you will be able to test individually and manage your other students at the same time.
Tip 4: Pull Items Ahead of Time
Make sure that you read through the tests ahead of time and pull all necessary items before testing begins. There can be some very random items that the test requires you to use, so make sure everything is close at hand when it comes time to administer the exams.
Tip 5: Be Prepared for Lock-Out Times
Depending on your state and the tests being given, there may be lock-out times between tests. This prevents too many tests from being given too quickly to the same student. If you are not anticipating this delay, it can be disrupting and unnerving for both you and your student.
Administering state testing is not necessarily a fun process, but it can be managed in such a way that it’s not overwhelming for you and your students. What strategies and tips have worked well for you in the past? Share with us! We’d love to know!