When preparing for standardized tests, some students reach a point when, although they have learned a lot about the test, they still haven’t reached their goal score. Heather talks about what it’s like to help one of these students pull it all together to achieve his goal:
Sometimes students just need a little “push” to show them that they can achieve their goals! This is where I become a “coach” to help a student find out what is working well and what needs to be adjusted. For instance, maybe a student isn’t using strategies on the English section, so her score won’t budge. Or maybe a student is rushing through the reading section in order to finish, but is compromising accuracy while doing so.
My favorite example of this occurred when one of my ACT students scored the same on his post-test as he did on his pre-test. Instead of being disappointed by his score, I decided we should use this as an opportunity for learning! In fact, I do not believe there is such a thing as a “bad” mid-test or post-test. In reality, I knew this test was going to be a great way for us to find out what adjustments needed to be made to help him reach his goal score on his real test.
During the tutoring session, we investigated each section to find either the small things he could change or the things that he was doing well that he could replicate. For this particular student, we discovered that when he felt rushed for time, he did not continue using the strategies we had discussed and practiced for months. Therefore, his accuracy decreased on the final questions of a passage. We adjusted his approach to the test to ensure he continued using strategies on these final questions.
Pinpointing small adjustments such as these can be really empowering because the student knows exactly how to do better. Then, a lot of practice with these adjustments can help the student pull it all together.
This is what happened for my student. He was able to pull everything together after we practiced the adjustments. He felt really confident going into his real test and was able to surpass his goal score. This was an incredibly rewarding moment as a tutor!