Your students have finished this semester’s cycle of standardized testing—whew! Many educators come to the end of a testing cycle feeling tired, proud, relieved… and at loose ends. While you’re happy to have seen your students through their testing period, it’s hard not to wonder, “What now?” You want to balance the exhaustion and sense of accomplishment your students are feeling with the fact that there’s still work to be done. Fear not—the end of a testing cycle should be cause for relief, not stress! And we’re here to help. Here are some things to keep in mind when your students are done with testing for a semester.
Give Your Students a Break!
They’ve earned it! For at least a week or two after testing, go light on the homework, plan some fun, relaxed lessons, maybe involving games, and give your students the opportunity to recharge. A testing cycle is stressful and physically tiring, and pushing your students hard afterwards will only burn them out. Once they’ve had a little break to recover, you can start looking at more rigorous work again.
Bring Them Back to Non-Test Academics
As challenging as a testing cycle can be, it’s also very structured and, in its way, limited. The SAT and ACT cover very specific academic topics, in a tightly structured format, and your students have been prepping in a highly focused manner for their tests. Now that testing is done, you have an opportunity to show them how to fall back in love with aspects of scholarship not covered by the test. This can be anything from literature and history to scientific experiments in a lab-style setting. Now would also be a great time to get the students involved in a research project of their own devising. Original research and presentation is an important skill that will help them in college, and it’s academically challenging and stimulating in a way that’s completely different from test prep.
Plan for the Next Steps
Testing is an important part of any student’s college application, but it’s not the only thing! Now that students are finished testing, it’s time for them to plan their next application steps. This includes keeping up their GPA, working on their essays, and finalizing their college lists. This is also the time for your students to figure out a plan for when they get their scores back—this can affect their college list, or, depending on the score and when they’re taking the test, whether or not they want to retake it. Even though the current test cycle may be over, there’s still plenty to do, and you can be there to guide your students every step of the way!