Thursday, March 26, 2009

What Are You Doing
To Motivate Your Test Takers?

Will your students be duct-taping you to the wall if they improve their scores on state tests this year? Will you be camping on the roof overnight if the kids help you meet AYP? If either of those rewards is what you’ll be facing when students meet testing benchmarks, then you need to get down on your knees and be thankful you won’t be kissing a barnyard animal again!

Principal stunts have always been great motivators for kids, but if you’re not really a “stunt person,” there are plenty of other ways you can motivate kids to give those state tests their best shots.

In Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, each school uses some kind of reward to get kids focused on the test task. The rewards vary by school and grade level, Teresita Kolenchak, district director of public relations, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. [See Some Schools Offering Test-Taking Incentives] Those incentives could be a dance, pizza party, or ice cream social. Or a raffle that gives students a chance to toss a pie at one of their teachers.

Other schools do special things to motivate kids before the tests. One Penn Hills elementary school presents pencils printed with a rhyming reminder to “Do your best on the test.”

At Carpenters Middle School in Marysville, Tennessee, teachers and the principal have joined forces to create a character, Captain TCAP (Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program), who helps kids focus on test-prep strategies. Nose picking and belching are sure to get middle schoolers’ attention, but the messages these educators present all in fun are serious ones. Take a look at the Teacher Tube video below. The last segment of this video introduces their superhero (the school principal), Captain TCAP.

The educators at Carpenter Middle have even created a blooper reel -- real outtakes from their video production. And if you have another moment, be sure to take a look at their “Men in Black” spoof. You’ll be amazed at their creativity, and you’ll instantly see how this video worked to get the school’s students excited about doing well on the TCAPs.

What are you doing in your school to motivate your test takers? Do you do practice tests all year long? Do you focus on the “bubble kids” who with an extra point or two could push your school to the next level? Do you talk with all kids about test data? Do you hold pep rallies in advance, offer incentives, provide rewards…? Thanks 1,000,000 for clicking the pencil at the bottom of this entry to share what you’ve done so others might benefit from your experience.

Read More

Boosting Test Scores: "Principal" Strategies That Work
Raising test scores is a goal at the top of all principals' lists. It's a task that requires focus and a multi-pronged approach. In this article, Ed World's "Principal Files" team shares strategies that have helped them boost sagging scores -- strategies that could work for you too.

Big Test Pep Rallies: 2, 4, 6, 8 -- Taking Tests And Feeling Great!
A little stress over tests can keep kids on their toes, but too much will knock them off their feet. So, taking a page from the athletic department's playbook, schools are using the popular "pep rally" to get students excited and motivated to do their best on the tests.

Cheering Classmates Send Students to Tests
Most of Parkville Community School's students know where they are and where they need to go on the state’s high stakes tests. So after months of preparation, the school holds a pep rally to get its test-takers pumped.

Larry Bell: Somebody Needs You
An award-winning educator and in-demand speaker, Larry Bell's inspirational messages focus on practical ideas for improving test scores and helping at-promise students achieve success. Here Bell presents tools and strategies for helping your at-promise students achieve.

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