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by Nayeli Ellen
The recent article from Edutopia discusses practical strategies and teaching techniques that can help students demonstrate learning and transfer their knowledge to new contexts. This includes summative assessments and standardized tests, which often present challenges for students who struggle with the different formats and language used in these situations.
- Integrating interactive test prep strategies, such as academic graffiti walls, in-the-moment multiple choice questions, and question stem sorts, can help students better demonstrate their learning and transfer knowledge to new contexts like assessments.
- These strategies encourage critical thinking, deductive reasoning, and engagement in argument from evidence, better preparing students for various types of assessments.
- By familiarizing students with academic language and common assessment question types, these interactive strategies boost their confidence and ability to strategize during testing, ultimately improving their performance.
Teachers face the challenge of bridging the gap between students’ demonstrated skills during daily instruction and their ability to transfer this knowledge to standardized tests. Traditional approaches, such as using test-like questions on homework assignments, are helpful but often focus more on practice than preparation. Instead, a wraparound approach incorporating academic graffiti walls, in-the-moment multiple choice questions, and question stem sorts can increase student confidence and success.
Academic graffiti walls allow students to access and understand the academic language used in assessments by creating an interactive vocabulary wall that groups together related terms. This helps students think flexibly about language and relate new information to prior knowledge.
In-the-moment multiple choice questions engage students in creating and ranking possible answers during group activities. This not only prepares them for the types of questions they may encounter in assessments, but also encourages critical thinking and deductive reasoning skills.
Question stem sorts involve categorizing questions based on broader categories or themes that commonly appear in assessments. By familiarizing themselves with these question types, students can develop strategies for tackling them during testing.
These interactive strategies create authentic opportunities for students to practice and transfer their learning to new contexts, better preparing them for assessments and enabling them to demonstrate their knowledge through various mediums across the curriculum.
Five Engaging Techniques to Enhance Exam Preparation
Complementing the interactive test prep strategies mentioned in the article, these five alternative learning techniques aim to further boost students’ confidence and knowledge retention for exams:
- Self-Reflection and Goal Setting: Encourage students to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses before diving into exam preparation. By setting specific, achievable goals based on their self-assessment, students can focus on areas where they need improvement, leading to more efficient and targeted study sessions.
- Peer-to-Peer Teaching: Facilitate opportunities for students to teach concepts to their peers. This collaborative approach not only reinforces understanding for the “teacher” but also provides the “learner” with an alternative perspective and explanation of the material, potentially leading to better comprehension.
- Utilizing Graphic Organizers: Incorporate visual tools such as mind maps, flowcharts, and Venn diagrams to help students break down complex concepts and identify connections between ideas. Visualizing information can improve retention and provide a more engaging and organized way to approach exam preparation.
- Active Learning through Games and Quizzes: Introduce educational games and quizzes as a means of reinforcing and applying knowledge. This method adds an element of fun and competition, increasing student engagement and motivation while promoting the application of concepts in various contexts.
- Incremental Practice and Spaced Repetition: Encourage students to practice in shorter, focused sessions and regularly revisit material over time. Spaced repetition helps reinforce memory by allowing students to strengthen their understanding of concepts and recall information more effectively during exams.
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