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Methods to Improve Reading Test Scores

by Patti Richards, studioD

Teaching students to improve their reading test scores can help increase comprehension on all parts of standardized testing. Test-taking strategies as well as improved reading pace and fluency increase your students’ chances of raising reading scores. Requiring students to read for recreation at least 15 minutes each day is one of many simple steps teachers can use to help students raise reading test scores, according to the Missouri NEA.

Practice Makes Perfect

Taking practice tests is an effective way of improving reading scores on standardized tests. Teachers who use practice tests once per week or every two weeks help students become comfortable with the testing format. Testing of any kind can make some students nervous and cause them not to achieve to their fullest potential. Giving students practice tests can help relieve the “test jitters” and help students begin to recognize test patterns, where to look for answers and how to pace themselves so they are answering most questions rather than getting stuck on a few. Students who learn how to answer questions on standardized tests and think about testing differently are able to improve their reading test scores over time, according to an article in "Education World."

Students and Directions

The standard practice in most classrooms is for the teacher to read and interpret test directions on every test or quiz a student takes. Reading and providing students with all the information they need to answer questions may actually make it more difficult for them to read and follow directions on their own on standardized tests. According to Jack Farrell, Consultant Teacher to the Mammoth Unified School District, students are often confused and surprised by standardized tests because it may be the first time they are expected to read and follow directions without any help or prompting from the teacher. Farrell recommends passing out tests and quizzes and letting students proceed on their own, only answering questions when they are asked rather than assuming students cannot read and follow the directions. This helps students practice for standardized tests where teacher help is not allowed.

Use the R.E.A.D Test-Taking Method

Standardized test taking involves learning both the material for the test and how to actually take the test. Teaching your students the R.E.A.D. method of test taking helps them strategize before beginning the test and can increase reading test scores. In the R.E.A.D. method, you must teach students to: Read the question and underline or block the facts; Eliminate those answers that are obviously incorrect; understand the correct Answer is on the page; and Do all of the easy questions first. By following this method, students can approach standardized test taking with a plan that helps them deal with each question in a manageable way.

Read! Read! Read!

One of the most effective ways to improve students' test scores is by having them do more reading. This includes reading textbooks for information, reading fiction and answering online questions through programs like Accelerated Reader, reading in novel groups and reading independently with properly-leveled fiction. The Missouri NEA also suggests teachers model reading to their students by taking part in classroom reading activities and reading for pleasure. When your students see you reading, they are more likely to model and desire this behavior for themselves; the more a student reads, the better his reading test scores will be.

About the Author

Patti Richards has been a writer since 1990. She writes children’s books and articles on parenting, women's health and education. Her credits include San Diego Family Magazine, Metro Parent Magazine, Boys' Quest Magazine and many others. Richards has a Bachelor of Science in English/secondary education from Welch College.

Photo Credits

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