7 Steps for Students to Succeed in Assessments

By: Admin 04 May, 2017

When asked why many of the students have struggled on assessments in the past, their responses showed real reflection and a deep understanding of themselves.


Check out some of their answers. Some of what they mention they just clearly need to get into the habit of doing, but others require us to help students learn strategies to fight off the now-habitualized behavior.


“I get distracted to the littlest things.”

“I skip directions”

“When I see huge questions that come with reading I give up.”

“When people finish I feel like I’m the last one and put whatever I think and write it fast.”

“before I start the test, I always think negative thoughts.”

“If I see a lot of reading I give up.”

“I skip questions that are long and guess.”

“I get scared and not know what to do.”

So here is a short list of seven categories that may help. But they come with the full knowledge that the student must also work to change their habits if failure is to be avoided.

  1. Limit Distractions

As we move deeper and deeper into a 1:1 world, this takes thinking about. Children should know that whatever they are getting distracted over, will stay even after they finish their test. Try to tell them this by examples of your own life. They’ll connect more when they know their teacher also faces similar issues.

  1. Develop a Positive Voice

When we are already convinced we’ll fail, we will. Help students learn that intelligence is flexible. Give them honest praise as they informally show you successes. Success doesn’t need to be measured by assessments alone.

  1. Engaging Material

We need to put more effort into making our lessons more engaging and meaningful. That doesn’t mean fun; it means making our lessons something they want to learn.

  1. Take Ownership of their Work

Give them the list of what they are responsible to do. This “I don’t read the directions” thing is a chronic problem, but we can’t do it for them. They also need to be their own advocate, to ask questions, and insist on clarification. They must learn to raise their hand. They also need to get to sleep at a reasonable time!

  1. Academic Vocabulary

Teach them the language of the tests. It’s a specific genre and requires targeted lessons and reinforcement. Use these words in class regularly and praise students for using them as well.

  1. Score on Knowledge

Find ways to assess students in different ways. A student who struggles with writing can justify their mathematical equation orally. A student who shuts down in front of the class might need to pre-record their response or produce a mini-project or written response instead.  Unless they are being assessed on writing itself, find other ways to assess how they communicate your content.

  1. Limit Text in Assessments

On our assessments, really determine what’s necessary and what’s redundant. Analyze if every excerpt and every question is really necessary to assess for content knowledge. We aren’t in the business of punishing a struggling student by giving them an excruciating assessment. It makes them hate reading and makes it harder for you to assess what they really know.


A note to teachers and a call to action: let’s start, as a profession, to think about ways we might be able to become a more positive voice in their heads. We need to be the hopeful and persistent whisper that balances out their internal negative scream.


This article has excerpts from TweenTeacher website. Read the original here.