Standardized Testing and School Counselors: Where Do We Fit In?
As school counselors, our expected role in standardized testing typically starts and ends with the administration of the exams. Currently, the stakes of high stakes testing have never been greater. Therefore, we must move past the image of test facilitators and take an active role in increasing student achievement. Finally, we should be producing evidence supporting our role in boosting student achievement. So, where do we fit in? Identifying Low Achieving Students Individual student standardized testing data should be readily available to you. Create a list of students who are scoring at a non-proficient level. Depending on the needs of your school, you may want to separate these students into groups based upon their historical testing data. Once you identify students who would benefit from assistance in regards to standardized testing, create a plan of action. Individual Counseling Meet with individual students to discuss their past testing experiences. Discuss what the score reports of previous standardized tests mean. Many students have no idea what deficiencies previous standardized tests have identified. Providing students with this information can be very empowering. Allow the students to discuss what difficulties they encountered on previous tests. Group Counseling Form groups as needed. A study skills group could be used to help students address areas of need while preparing for the test. We always hear of students who are, simply, poor test takers. In this case, develop a group which provides students with test anxiety coping skills. A generalized informational group can be beneficial, as well. Provide group members with increased confidence by explaining the question formatting and timing sequences of the test. This can limit their fear of the unknown. Communicate With Staff Be sure to communicate the information gathered from your students to the appropriate staff. A student’s conventional educational experience only allows a teacher to spend one year with that student. Therefore, many teachers are unaware of previously identified areas of non-proficiency. Continually reach out to staff members to monitor you students’ progress leading up to standardized testing dates. Communicate With Parents The field of education is loaded with terminology and acronyms which can be quite confusing for parents of all levels of involvement. Explain standardized testing results in a clear and understandable manner. Let parents know what it means to score below proficiency. Help them read and interpret score reports. Produce Data Demonstrating Your Role in Increasing Student Achievement Implementing an evidenced based school counseling program relies on the ability to produce data for accountability purposes. As school counselors gain the ability to demonstrate how they have increased student achievement, the ability to self-advocate is gained, as well. Find opportunities to communicate your analyzed data, explaining your role in increasing student achievement. Use your department website, newsletters, or various meetings to pat yourself on the back. You earned it! Resources for Counselors - Click Here 1500+ Online Forms - Print On Demand