State testing is upon us, but this time around, kids are not sharpening No. 2 pencils as they did for many years prior. This year, state tests are incorporating technology, and students are now testing on computers. This form of high-tech testing is part of Common Core State Standards’ Smarter Balance tests, and although the same rules of test preparation may apply (e.g., get a good night’s rest, eat breakfast, etc.), some things are a bit different. Students from Capistrano Connections Academy and schools throughout the state are coming together to test their knowledge, so we asked the test-taking mavens at our online school for their best advice for students—and we got some technology-specific responses, as well as a few tried-and-true tips:
· Take a deep breath – Testing can be stressful, but take a deep breath and think through the question or problem.
· When in doubt, provide the best answer – If you are unsure of the answer, provide what you think is the best answer. On the computer testing model, you can review the answer at a later time by marking the item for review. Students can mark an item by clicking the box next to the flag in the upper right hand corner of the screen before moving on to the next question.
· Don’t rush – Take your time and carefully read each question and pay attention to details.
· You can take a break – Raise your hand if you need a break and ask the teacher prior to clicking PAUSE. You may PAUSE at any point in the test by clicking PAUSE rather than NEXT after answering an item. The PAUSE button is used to temporarily stop the test. Note that PAUSING for more than 20 minutes will prevent you from changing any answer on previous pages of the test.
· Stay positive – Don’t get down on yourself if some questions stump you. Stay focused and do the best you can.
· Ask – When in doubt, ask the teacher. If you have questions about the test or the format, the teacher is a resource for you.
· Relax - Lastly, remember to relax. You’ve got this!
It’s amazing to think about how far technology has come since the days I was taking state tests, and I can’t wait to see its continued evolution as the next generation of students shares their knowledge using these 21st century tools.