What will you do as a teacher to improve their test scores?
You are a 5th grade teacher. Half of your class is failing in testing. What will you do as a teacher to improve their test score??
Teach test-taking skills, but the most important thing you can do to raise test scores is to teach your subject well so students feel confident. Then do everything you can to lower the anxiety level but still get students to take the test seriously. Many students freeze up because they are panicked, and others just don't put much effort in. I would treat each of these cases differently. The bottom line is to try to approach each kid and give each one what he or she needs to put the effort in and do the best work.
I think post number 2 has given you some great ideas to help improve test scores. I think one thing that has to be looked at also is the curriculum. I am assuming that the tests you are talking about are your state assessments, if so your curriculum should be aligned to the state curriculum which is aligned to the test. Make sure you are teaching the right things to your students.
We cannot assume that the teacher, and solely the teacher, is the only factor in student performance. It's preposterous. A teacher has a responsibility to take students at the level they are at, and help them to improve. Since, in the US, we attempt to educate everyone, not just the most capable as they do in many other countries. We ignore socio-economic status, environmental conditions, etc. and expect the same level of knowledge and learning from everyone. Student should show improvement over the course of the year with any good teacher, but to expect teacher ability to overwhelm a number of other dominant factors.
You already have some excellent strategies, here, and I would simply add one more: practice taking tests. I'm not talking about taking the test you want to use as a measurement over and over again, but taking tests in which the outcomes don't count against them. Practicing how to both relax and perform well on tests is a skill which can be learned. By the time I get them in high school, test anxiety is a real factor for many students; so learning some strategies, as mentioned above, and taking some tests when the outcome matters less then than process is a good thing for upper elementary students to do in order to be more successful at the high school level.
I think #2 makes a very important point about the need for more informal assessment in class - by this I mean not formal assessments such as tests, but more games, activities etc that help you as a teacher know how your class are doing. Really, you shouldn't give a test until you have enough evidence from informal assessment to establish that the majority of the class will pass that test.
If the teacher has seen that the problem occurs with "major assessments" then there are several strategies to try. The teacher could do any of the following:
1. Give more small assessments along the way (formative assessments) that give teacher and student feedback at smaller segments along the way and allow for a chance to immediately see where there might be problems.
2. Teach a new skill or concept using 2 or 3 or more different strategies in the hope that students who learn differently will have had the material presented in at least one way that works for them. For example -- teach 2 different methods of solving multiplication problems, or work on comprehension skills through discussion as well as written response.
3. Actually teach test-taking skills. Students may need direct instruction of how to tackle true/false questions or how to be best decide between two similar asnwers in a MC set.
4. Provide practice material to be completed as homework. Students who work with a parent or tutor have the added benefit of talking about the material or skill with another "voice."
5. Create assessments in different formats or a different mix of test styles to see what kinds of assessments students do best with. A single test could have 3 or 4 different section with different question types: MC, T/F, matching, fill-in, short answer, paragraph response etc.
Why would a teacher have let it go this far that half is failing? I think it is time to change teachers for a better one. But since that is not likely, th best thing to do is to start enabling the lower half to do better and the other help to help the lower half. The teacher has to get them involved in their own class and helping each other.