Strategies to Improve Test Scores in Middle Schools

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Not only are students graded by their test scores schools are too. For better or worse, schools must administer and report on test scores of their students to get a rating. While sometimes this leads to a focus on test-taking skills to the detriment of other types of teaching, according to social critic Peter Sacks in a Bam Radio interview, there must be a way to identify struggling schools. Many schools are interested in ways middle school students can improve their test scores. By following recommended techniques by principals and teaching experts, you can learn the methods.

1 Train the Teachers

Teachers must know how to read and interpret the test results, so they can target areas in which their students are strong and the areas in which the students need extra help. The teachers then can concentrate on the appropriate areas of study. While teachers learn to analyze the classroom, principals must analyze the school, according to Principal Michael Miller, who runs a successful school in Florida. If he sees areas where the school is weak, he arranges specialized training for teachers and obtains any materials they may need, Education World reports.

2 Personal Attention

Miller also identifies students who score at low levels. He meets with these students and their parents to discuss both the importance of raising test scores and how the parents can support the effort. The personal attention works for them. Personal attention also works for Principal Les Potter’s middle school in Florida, according to an Education World report. His school needs to focus on building literacy. He does this by focusing on the lowest readers and providing them with more intensive reading classes. He also provides after-school tutoring with transportation and food and holds literacy fairs.

3 Teach the Process

According to educator Alan Haskvitz, who brought his students’ scores from the 24th to the 94th percentile, it is important to teach the process of test taking. Teachers should stress throughout the year on how to take tests. Giving practice tests and even teaching students how to write their own test questions gives them insight into test taking.

4 Tips for Students

Haskvitz stresses the importance of eating a good breakfast before testing. Other matters of importance in test taking are to prepare for the test by reading the material a week ahead of time, studying your notes, anticipating the test questions based on what was discussed in class and reviewing the material the night before the test and once more when you wake up.

While taking the test, listen to the instructions before starting. Quickly scan the test to see how long it is. If you see questions that you know, answer those first and save the ones you are not sure about for the end. Sometimes while you answer the questions you know, this will trigger your memory, and you will be able to answer the others. When you are done, go over the test again and fill in what you left out, even if you guess.

Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since 1983. Her feature stories on area businesses, human interest and health and fitness appear in her local newspaper. She has also written and edited for a grassroots outreach effort and has been published in "Clean Eating" magazine and in "Dimensions" magazine, a CUNA Mutual publication. Agadoni has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University-Fullerton.