OK. Let’s say that you’ve done all of that (good for you!). Now it’s the day of the test. Is there anything else you can do this late in the ballgame to make sure your students do a good job? Well, if you look to cognitive science for the answer, you will see that yes, indeed, DDA Debit
There are actually a number of things you can do to help maximize your students’ performance. Today I will give you seven great testing day “hacks” that you can incorporate with very little effort or expense. Sound good? Sure! Who doesn’t like something that’s cheap, easy, and effective?
The first issue to consider is where to administer the test. I understand that, if you are a classroom teacher, you may not have much input on this question. But if your administrator(s) want to schedule the testing, for convenience sake, in a place other than your classroom (such as an auditorium or cafeteria), you need to speak up and see if your students can be tested in your own classroom. Why? It has to do with episodic (contextual) memory.
You see, when we learn facts and ideas (semantic memory), we also process other details about our surroundings (episodic memory) along with that information, and it all becomes part of that same memory trace. And when it comes time to retrieve the facts and ideas, having “cues” around us in our surroundings can help us with that retrieval.
For example, a student might be stuck trying to retrieve a piece of information on the test. If he or she is in the same location where the original learning took place, some little detail about the surroundings (seeing the same poster on the wall, sitting in the same location in the room where the original learning took place, recalling something that happened in the classroom on the day of the initial learning, etc).
Can serve as a stimulus to help access the semantic memory of the needed information. For this reason, studies have consistently shown that students score better when tested in the same location where the initial learning took place (Schacter, 1996).
So, if your administrator(s) have scheduled the testing of your students to take place anywhere other than your classroom, have a conversation about what I have just shared. It may be that they are simply unaware of the research.
Even if they won’t move the large group testing for everyone, you might be able to have your students exempted and have them tested in your own room (maybe you could sell it as a “research study”). Believe me, this could make a big difference in your students’ scores!
Now, while we’re talking about messing up all of your administrator’s best-laid plans for testing day, let’s talk about the best time for the testing. Most school districts do large-scale testing in the morning, usually starting as soon as the school day gets rolling. For younger students (elementary through pre-adolescents), this schedule is just fine.
That’s because the circadian rhythms (daily arousal rhythms) for younger students matches with the rhythms of most adults. That is, once they are fully awake and at school, they are usually good to go until they hit the dreaded mid-day slump when energy drops to lower levels. All of this means that younger students will tend to do their best on tests if tested anytime in the 7 a.m. to noon window.