TeacherMade Helps Teachers Create Interactive Practice Materials to Prepare Students for State Tests

Ms. May teaches 10th grade ELA in Minnesota. She uses TeacherMade to expose her students to the question types they'll encounter on the MCA.

Using technology in the classroom to prepare for state tests

Whether we as teachers like them or not, almost every state has standardized testing for students. We owe it to our students to make sure they are prepared. The preparation goes beyond covering content for the various benchmarks on the test. 

How do you use TeacherMade to help students practice for state tests?

Since most state tests are now online and contain technology-enhanced questions, students also need opportunities to practice answering these kinds of questions. TeacherMade allows teachers to transform practice test and curriculum materials into technology-enhanced questions.

How do you create technology-enhanced questions to help your students practice for state tests?

However, there is a slight problem. Most states, like my state of Minnesota, do not have enough practice materials for teachers to share with students. I teach 10th grade. Every spring, my students must take the Minnesota Comprehension Assessment test in reading (MCA). But, on the Minnesota Department of Education's website, MDE has had the same three practice passages for 10th grade for over five years. Although the real test will have many technology-enhanced questions, there are approximately only six such questions on the three practice passages combined. For many students, that is not enough practice. The best way to practice is to do it frequently throughout the year.

What are the most common technology-enhanced questions on your state's test?

Below are the most common technology-enhanced question types on state tests:

  1. Multiselect. Students typically have five answer options and must choose the two correct answers.
  2. Drop Down. Students click in a box or on a line, and the answer options dropdown. Students must choose the correct answer.
  3. Drag and Drop. Students are given several boxes of answers on a chart or a word bank and must match an answer to a corresponding answer by moving it to a different space.
  4. Multipart. There is usually a Part A and Part B. Students typically choose the correct answer in Part A and then choose one or two supporting pieces of evidence from Part B.
  5. HotSpot or Hot Text. Students choose the correct answer by clicking right on a paragraph or a passage.
  6. Short Answer. Students type an answer into a box or on a line. Typically, the answer is short, such as a word or a phrase.
  7. Multiple Choice. Multiple choice might not need to be explained. The only thing worth noting is that sometimes more than one answer must be selected in the answer options.
  8. Short Constructed Response. Students are given a prompt and must write a brief response, such as a paragraph.

Do TeacherMade's question types align with your state test's technology-enhanced questions?

If you are familiar with TeacherMade, you probably recognize that these question types closely align with the tools available in TeacherMade.

Although most states do not have enough practice tests with technology-enhanced questions for students to work on, there are plenty of released standardized tests online. Because most states have similar standards and benchmarks, a test in one state will likely work for another. 

How do you use TeacherMade to modify existing practice tests?

Using the tools in TeacherMade, teachers can easily modify any of these practice tests with plenty of technology-enhanced questions for their students. Because assignments created in TeacherMade can easily be shared with other teachers, the work can be divided among several colleagues. If each teacher modifies one test or passage and shares the assignment, a group of teachers will have more than enough practice tests for their classes.

How has TeacherMade's auto-grading feature helped you prepare your students for state tests?

Also, since all the TeacherMade tools for transforming the tests are auto-grading tools, except for the short constructed response, grading takes no time at all. Your students will appreciate getting their scores instantly! You can also set up the score results to show students which question they got wrong but do not see the correct answer. After a class discussion, you can reset the test for students to retry. 

How do you use TeacherMade for other assignments, such as creating worksheets?

These useful tools in TeacherMade do not need to be limited to old state tests, either. They can be used on worksheets you created or worksheets from teaching resources, such as workbooks and downloaded PDFs. You can use them to transform a worksheet, making it more engaging for your students while providing them with lots of practice.

How does creating practice tests in TeacherMade help prepare your students to recognize test formatting?

Because we care about our students' success, we spend the year preparing them by teaching them content skills such as main idea and supporting details, author's purpose, and text structure. But sound content knowledge might not be reflected on a test score if our students are confused by the testing format. 

In an ideal world, teachers should be provided with plenty of practice resources for their students, but since most states' departments of education websites do not have enough practice resources, we teachers might need to create them ourselves.

TeacherMade is the perfect tool for teachers looking to create practice materials for state tests. Help your students feel more prepared, confident, and ready for your next state test.

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