State testing season is upon us, and if you work in a school, you are bound to notice. As a school-based SLP, you might think that your relationship with state tests would be limited to changing schedules, distracted teachers, and some glazed-over students. But I would like to suggest that you might consider state testing an opportunity to connect with your classroom-based colleagues.
There are loads of ways to support gen-ed teachers during the state testing window and the weeks leading up to it. Here are a few ideas to get the conversation started with the teachers in your buildings:
Reviewing vocabulary from test questions
A natural role for SLPs is to support vocabulary work, and this list of vocabulary shows words used in Smarter Balanced questions. The lists could be used for learning new words, practicing vocabulary strategies, or even for articulation practice! The words ‘heading’, ‘narrator’, and ‘stanza’ are all from the Grade 3 list.
Discussing and practicing available accommodations
Many students on IEPs have testing accommodations listed on their IEPs. Connect with teachers to see how they will be implemented, but seize the opportunity to review with students what exactly is in their IEP!
Thinking broadly about successful test-taking behaviors
State testing is a unique scenario, but it’s not the only test our students take! Use the opportunity to talk about important considerations around test-taking:
- Ways to remain quiet and still while everyone is testing – What are the expectations?
- Considerations around cheating – What is it? Why is it not allowed?
- How do different students feel about tests? How do you feel and why?
- Are there benefits to taking a test on a computer? Disadvantages?
Plan to use state testing this spring as a launching pad for deeper conversation and planning with general education teachers. Let them know what kinds of activities you are doing with their students, and ask them what their concerns are around state testing.