Focus on Five: Preparing for Standardized Testing

It is hard to imagine that we are nearly halfway through the school year and this is the time we start to think about standardized testing.  I wrote a post about standardized testing in May, but starting to prepare now ensures success for the spring. Here are five things I am doing now to get ready for the DLM-AA and SANDI now…

1. Check IEPs

This is where it all starts. Checking your students’ IEPs for which standardized assessment each student is taking is essential because you need to be able to know which assessment your student is taking, as well as any testing accommodations.  This also gives you the opportunity to revise any IEPs to reflect the correct assessment or add any testing accommodations that would benefit the student. This is also a good time to check and see who is the building test coordinator for the different standardized assessments. If you are not sure, ask your vice principal. Make sure that you are on the correct online portals and have a username and password to the assessments that you are required to administer. If you need access, ask your vice principal, your district’s office of diverse learners or building test coordinator. 

2. Complete Trainings 

Make sure to complete the required training. Now is probably the time in your district to complete the required training.  I’ve taken the DLM-AA year to year, so I have a Google Doc with notes to help me when I take the post training assessments. If you have multiple teachers at your school administering the same test as you, complete the training together so you can also plan and share ideas for when administering the assessment. 

3. Set Up Technology 

This is an important step because standardized assessments may require a specific device and setting up the technology now ensures that you can make sure you have the correct device and allows time to download any apps. It also gives you the opportunity to practice with students before the actual assessment-many of the standardized tests have practice tests in order to help students get comfortable with the format of the assessment. 

4. Complete Pre-Assessment Paperwork

The DLM-AA has a first-contact survey, which is filled out in order to determine each students’ level. It is really important to take the time to fill out this information thoughtfully so that the student will be assessed on their level. There might be other information that you need to fill out before the test for your district including a schedule and a roster.  While it still may feel early to create a schedule, having a rough idea of the time of the day would be best to pull students for testing. The DLM-AA is individually administered, so start to plan what the other students and staff are doing while you are testing.

5. Get Organized 

  • Make Tables & Lists– Put all the student information you may need (e.g. student identification numbers, date of birth) in one place for easy access in a Google Doc. 
  • Materials– Start to make sure you have all the items that are needed for testing and start to gather these materials. 
  • Keep Track– I usually make a written checklist to keep track of how many testlets the students have taken. I have also made sticker charts to help keep track and motivate students through the testlets. 
  • Communicate with Colleagues- Plan on checking-in with colleagues that are also giving the assessment  so that you can troubleshoot or bounce ideas off of each other at all the phases of the planning and testing processes. 
  • Ask Questions– Don’t be afraid to reach out to the testing company. I am our school’s building test coordinator, so I need to be able to get answers for myself and other teachers who are giving the assessment.

I hope this helps you to feel prepared and organized for standardized testing. Check out my previous blog post about standardized testing for more ways to prepare. Stay safe and healthy!


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