The Goal of Education
How to Learn
“The future belongs to the learning, not the
“Human history is a race between education and catastrophe.”
How to Improve Your Test Scores
First, check to make sure weaker students live in your district.
Secondly, if you have a weak student encourage them
to put in another teacher's name on the test form.
Thirdly, use a cooperative learning approach to the test
by having the weaker students work closely
with the stronger ones.
Fourth, have a personal talk with some parents
about the fact that the government
is going to use the test data in ways too horrible to mention.
And, tell them they can opt-out.
Fifth, have the opt-out papers handy.
orHow to Empower Students and Raise Test Scores with Less Work
National Teachers Hall of Fame
National Awards in Economics, Technology, Environment
National Middle Level Teacher of the Year
USA Today All American Educator
International Teacher of the Year
Reader's Digest Hero in Education
Voted 100 Most Important Educators in World
Three Golden Bells and
a Pear Tree.
Never been observed by a superintendent or Department of Education official
Students standing at desk are probably a sign of one of five things:
The teacher wants to be the center of learning.
The teacher didn't explain the lesson well enough.
The teacher is lonesome.
The students are lonesome.
There is a shortage of restroom passes.
The teacher is preparing them to stand in line at Disneyland.
The bottom line
Cardinal Rule: Empower Your Students
The Best Way to Learn is to Teach Others
You are helping students become
(insert current Pedagogical Innovation phrase here).
Doing Less Means
Students Learn More Process
Why not let them write some tests?
Why not let them prepare lessons?
Why not let them find resources?
Cast Down Your Bucket
Use resources in the community
Retired Teachers not Substituting
(if there are any)
College students and professors
Before I give some ideas that I use to
improve standardized test scores…
Proof that they do work
In a school with seven sub-categories,
including three minorities: ESL,
and low income groups
My test scores have been nearly
100 points higher than neighboring schools.
California Standardized Test Score
Results for my students
Of 170 Students
160 Finished in top two state
2012 Top State Middle
School Social Studies
Research has shown
That technology helps
“In helping students prepare for tests, remember that
performance deficits usually arise from failures of retrieval, not failure
of storage or encoding. Simply encoding information is not learning it
- retrieval and expression is what demonstrates learning. Testing
enhances Long Term Memory much more so than just further study,
unless the study time actually involves retrieval. So tell your students
that "effortful retrieval" is the strongest
learning tool. Self testing opportunities should be plentiful in test
preparation. Remind your students, "don't just review, retrieve,
retrieve, retrieve". Ralph Miller, PhD. Binghamton University- SUNY.
"Functional Analysis of Learning and Its Failures: The Benefits of
Imperfect Retrieval." Presented August 14, 2010 APA Annual
Convention, San Diego, CA
The real secret is
Use old standardized tests as practice tests.
Use bookmark sites to list self help student work
Review material twice.
Once at start of the year once in March. This builds up
Confidence and helps as students mature* during the year.
The second time through the students are empowered to
help teach the lessons. Peer Pressure
A study out of Ohio State University shows
students do better with more frequent testing.
Weekly spot quizzes tended to have a greater
effect on exam improvement than homework.
Kass, S. 1999. APA Monitor, vol. 30(9).
Testing Works Best
Does guessing wrong on a practice test engrain
the incorrect answer for the real test?
Apparently not. In practice tests, some
students were encouraged not to guess and
others were required to guess. Guessing wrong
had no effect on their test performance when
given a week later. Kang, S. et al. 2011. Journal
of Educational Psychology, Vol 103(1), 48 - 59.
Use the Fry
Of course this doesn’t
How it Works
• Students write one page on any topic
• Show students how to use Graph
• Review what a syllable is and how to count them
• Have them “grade” their work
• They keep the results to themselves
• All future work must be at grade level
• Students place grade level next to their name
• Have a thesaurus or ten in the room
And Work on Topic Sentence
• It should not start with A, And, The, or a
pronoun, and the sentence could also include
• Underline all one syllable words
• This forces the students to adjust their writing
• Integrate the writing….library visit for setting.
Teach students how to
Two sentences. One explaining content
and other stating the question.
For example, Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation
freed some slaves. Which states did the
Distracters or possible answers should not be
none of some or all of the above.
There should also be four of them.
Use Scantrons or other fill-in type answer sheets
to get the students used to this system.
Relate to Them
• Students learn best when they can relate the
questions and concepts to their own lives
• For example, current events resulted in
newsletter for hospitals
• Improving imagery in writing resulted in audio
tapes for the blind
• Geography resulted in games around the
What Happens Next
• Students don’t tell anyone their level.
• They need to rewrite it at grade level and give
them a few days.
• They should have access to a thesaurus
• Show them how to use it.
• All written work must now have a writing
level next to the name.
When you are done with a test
Have a student group look them over to see which
questions were the most frequently missed.
Their answers could provide you with feedback
on what to review.
Use your test results as your best guide to improving.
Give lots of tests during the year...small tests, easy to grade
Tests are a learning tool.
Have peer grading done for the smaller ones
Give tests that count as you like, but I do it based
on the homework.
Homework does help if it reinforces skills taught in class
Go over your student scores on last state tests.
Look at how many questions are asked in each segment.
When reviewing stress those areas.
For example, in social studies
it is the Civil War and the Constitution.
Teach the process.
How to learn is the most important thing.
Have them teach others.
What process did you use?
Use Three transfers and reading does not count
Examples from Bloom
plus teaching others,
mnemonic devises, Indian story beads, lesson acting
Research-based specific things that teachers
Can do to improve test scores.
To Improve Elementary Reading Test Scores
•Make reading a fun and enjoyable activity.
•Research shows that students who perform well on standardized reading tests
enjoy reading and find it fun.
•Focus on building student vocabulary.
•Provide time for silent reading
Raising Middle School Reading Test Scores
•Projects based on what a student reads
•Having group discussion on what is read
•Writing journal entries on what is read
I teach them to read the last chapter first and to speed read
Raising High School Reading Test Scores
Reading for enjoyment
•Reading is a favorite activity
•Positive teacher attitude
•Writing about what you read at least once a month
•Books read outside of school
Factors that Do Not Influence Reading Scores at High School
•Assigning homework that students must complete with parents
•Using parents as aids in the classroom
Awesome Stories as Resource for Common Core
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.3 Analyze how incidents in a story propel the
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.7 Analyze the extent to which a filmed or live
production of a story or drama stays faithful to or departs from the text or
script, evaluating the choices made by the director or actors.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.9 Analyze how a modern work of fiction draws
on themes, patterns of events, or character types from myths, traditional
stories, or religious works such as the Bible, including describing how the
material is rendered new.
Some Videos with Explanations
300 - Battle of Thermopylae
Beautiful Mind, A
Black Hawk Down
The Hunger Games
I Am David
Quiet American, The
Remember The Titans
Shadow of the Vampire: The Real Dracula
Real Story of Argo
Waiting for the delay to be lifted was mentally exhausting for the
six. Without thinking, Joe - who understands Farsi, picked-up
a newspaper and started reading. Mendez was shocked. Who
would believe that a Canadian movie-maker could understand
At about the same time, Joe realized what he was doing and
put the paper down. He'd avoided what could have been a
disastrous unraveling of the escape plan. Once the flight was
ready to go, the escaping Americans had to clear security
Crossing the tarmac, in the airport bus, the "ARGO" crew
members were stunned to see "Aargau” written on the airplane.
Perhaps a good omen for their escape? The joy of escape was
slightly diminished when they learned they were not going
home. No one could know about their escape, for fear of what
would happen to the hostages still in Iran. They lived in hiding in
Florida until all the hostages were released.
.To Improve Elementary Level Math Test Scores:
•Spend 3-5 hours on math a week.
Avoid excess homework. Research shows that an excess
of 15 minutes of math homework each day might actually hinder
the goal of improving test scores.
•Ability grouping is helpful as well
Strategies that Have No Impact on Elementary Math Test Scores
The frequency in which teachers assign written responses
has little impact, but assign some
•Individual and group assignments
•Multiple choice tests
•Use of the computer to play math games
•Use of the computer for drill or practice in math
•Math specialist to provide enrichment
•Math specialist to provide remediation
Strategies that can have a negative impact on
state standardized math test scores
While it may seem counter intuitive, students who spend more than 5 hours
a week on math actually have lower scores than those who spend 3-5 hours
a week in math class.
Additionally, for middle school students, having up to an hour of homework
can be very helpful, but more than this can negatively impact test scores.
•Using the computer in math class can actually hurt scores
•Use of a calculator during class can hurt test scores significantly
•Drill and practice for basic facts has a negative impact
on middle school math test scores
Get into the head of the assessment writer
Teach key words to look for such as not, all, except.
Teach the students to anticipate from the question.
Look for clues...all, you only need to know ONE insect
to get the answer correct.
What features do all insects have?
A) 2 legs and 4 body parts
B) 4 legs and 2 body parts
C) 6 legs and 3 body parts
D) 8 legs and 3 body parts
Teach from today backwards.
Integrate lessons with other teachers.
Make more hands-on lessons (not puppets)
Use current events.
Use quality circles
Jig Saw large amounts of material
Have students create their own textbook
And publish them
Use a variety of methods to teach basics.
Give them the Answers. They provide the questions.
Finding free resources
Reach Every Child
10,000 free resources updated
every two weeks
-Listen to the students
“Lost Scout Approach”
-Living Spread Sheet
-Use visual clues.
Research has shown that
drawing helps students
-Give parents practice
tests to help their
-Proper Noun Cards
On Test Day
Make the room comfortable...try to have tests given
in the room where the topic is studied
When taking the test remind them to leave questions
they don't understand to last.
Sometimes another question can provide the answer.
Don't test on Monday
Don't test first period
Don't test after lunch
Lie to the students...Use lucky pencil.
Research that has shown it works.
The Bottom Line
Research has shown test scores
will improve the first three to four
years and level off or go down slightly after.
it is called gravity
Google Fight Data
School test scores improve 5,190,000 results
School test scores fall 5,160,000 results
Links to testing resource sites
Good Educational Videos
Articles I have written
Over 200 Features on Teaching