Lana Learn instructors are reflecting and rebooting this summer to focus on adding meaning to test prep programming.
When it comes to test preparation programming this summer, I have two goals: reflect and reboot. While students rest and recharge this summer, we have been meeting with partners, reviewing feedback, researching the shift to digital, and revising the curriculum. Our team is focusing on adding meaning to test prep programming.
We have run test prep and test prep professional development courses for many schools in the DC area. We have focused on holistic student development at Washington Latin Public Charter School. Our coaches have enjoyed offering individualized tutoring to benefit busy students at Sandy Spring Friends School. Our SAT Prep program at Don Boscoe Cristo Rey assisted students with college readiness.
A common thread in conversations with staff and students is an emphasis on messaging. Students deserve to know the “why” for everything they learn in school, as well as the proposed outcome. For the same reason that teachers post their lesson objectives in the classroom for all to see, so should we share our purpose and vision with the students from the get-go.
It sounds deceptively simple, but we often lose sight of our “why” when faced with challenges and mundaneness. Without a purpose to adhere to, motivation dwindles. Therefore, the more we can connect the skills we learn during test prep to relevant, real-world scenarios, the more engaged students will be.
So, how do we do this? Building relationships and collaboration are vital. We need to know our students and their hopes for the future – which means prioritizing goal setting from the start. Test prep is all about skills rather than content, but what will motivate students to grasp the skills if they have no use for them outside the test?
That is where the curriculum reboot comes in. Test prep should not merely prepare students for the SAT or ACT, but college and career, as well. Ideally, every strategy students learn should be one that they can apply elsewhere, whether that be an introductory college course or the first day of their new job. Making those connections and sharing those with students will ground our work in what matters: their definitions of success.