Education Evolutions

Building Student Motivation for Standardized Testing

Lana Learn academic coaches are focusing on building student motivation for standardized testing as the PARCC approaches.

Lana Learn coaches continue to implement the High-Impact Tutoring program at IDEA Public Charter School. The last few weeks at IDEA have been about heightened intentionality and urgency. Students across D.C. are preparing for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). This is the District of Columbia’s annual assessment of mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA), based on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). It’s important that our academic coaches focus on building student motivation for standardized testing in the upcoming weeks.

I am sharing a caseload of 40 students with two tutors from Education Solutions. There is no shortage of tutoring support needed as PARCC testing approaches the first week of May. Last month, we established relationships with students and staff and clearly defined our roles. Now, it is time to get into the nitty gritty of our sessions: objectives, agendas, and lesson plans galore! 

Prior to spring break, we met with the interim vice principal, Mrs. Barnes. We discussed wins, challenges, and action steps. Although there was much to celebrate, we observed a reluctance amongst certain students to participate in tutoring sessions. In an effort to incentivize them, we will now offer snacks during tutoring sessions. We will also advertise a celebration on May 10th for those who engage consistently in the program. I feel fortunate that school administration is ready and willing to support us as we navigate this territory together. 

The weeks leading up to the PARCC is going to be a whirlwind of standardized testing preparation. In addition, we will be focusing on writing instruction. Students across contents and grade levels are struggling with putting pen to paper (metaphorically more often than not with laptop access these days). I intend to implement a mini-unit with several students connected to the novel they are reading in English: Life of Pi. The goal is to leverage their knowledge of the story and genre to write a short narrative of their own. 

As part of the test-preparation, I am looking forward to proctoring one of the students in our caseload. He has been difficult to pin down for sessions and lacks motivation. I am enthused about the opportunity to build a stronger relationship and help him set goals for his future. Testing season is tense for everyone, and I hope to bring positivity and support to all those who need it. 

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