Karen’s Mashups-Show 23-Test Prep

This time of year, many schools are focusing on preparation for high stakes tests. All students can benefit from improving their study skills and learning how to prep for tests, even if it’s just for regular end-of-unit tests or quizzes. There are a variety of podcasts available that can help students with this, and we’ll be featuring several in this show.


(For the moment, I’m going to put aside my feelings about the current state of testing and test prep, but if the frenzy of test prep makes you crazy, here are my thoughts.)

Another way to use podcasting for review and study purposes is to create your own studycasts. These can be audio or video versions of information you’d normally cover in a printed review packet. For some students, audio or video is more engaging and accessible. Another idea is to have your students create their own studycasts at the end of each unit. In the course of doing so, they will master the content and hone their own communication skills.

Included in this show are excerpts from the following:

“Speaking of History” studycast

Innovative eighth grade history teacher Eric Langhorst produces these studycasts that help students get ready for upcoming tests. Mr. Langhorst also podcasts on other topics (here’s a show he did on how he uses note packets) and has an informative blog.

Although not included in this show, another great teacher studycast is Mr. Coley’s StudyCast.

Princeton Review Vocab Minute podcast

These short 1-minute podcasts present key vocabulary words in the context of catchy tunes. Princeton Review also has podcasts for getting ready for the LSAT and for parents about the college admissions process.

Make Math Matter – FCAT” from the Florida Center for Instructional Technology at the University of South Florida, College of Education (downloadable from iTunes)

In this show, hosts James Welsh and Colleen Beaudoin discuss ways to prepare students for standardized testing without sacrificing quality instruction. FCIT has many other useful resources, including audio ebooks and screencasts on many tech topics.

Kaplan College Bound podcast

Kaplan is a trusted name in test prep, and this podcast is focused on preparing student for tests like the PSAT, SAT, and ACT. In addition to test prep information, the podcast and web site also cover other topics like financial aid and applying to colleges.

Charles County Public Schools SAT/ACT Podcast – excerpt from Section 3: How Do I study?

This is a series of six shows about various aspects of prepping for and taking the SAT and ACT tests. The shows feature interviews with real students about their experiences with these tests and what worked and what didn’t work for them.

Ok, here are my thoughts on testing and test prep. There is too much testing in schools today. The format of most tests doesn’t assess what is important (critical thinking, communication skills, etc.); it assesses the ability to take tests and to memorize facts. Test prep is a game that teaches kids how to “beat” the test, not how to learn more. The way testing is being done under NCLB is making many teachers hate teaching, which is negatively affecting many aspects of education.However…like it or not, testing is an important part of educational success in the system we have. That’s why I decided to do this show even though the words “test prep” make a shiver run down my spine. End of rant…feel free to comment and add your own thoughts.

icon for podpress  Test prep [9:39m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

2 Responses to “Karen’s Mashups-Show 23-Test Prep”

  1. David Says:

    Hi Karen

    I’ve just come across you blog on Mashups and Public Domain material. I think you’ve created an excellent “product”.

    Your thoughts on testing are so true and here in the UK it is just as bad. Here are a few facts taken from today’s paper:

    * pupils face 30 national tests between the age of 4 and 18
    * at 4 years of age they are assessed against 117 benchmarks to assess their progress
    *for 4 months every year primaries, ages 5 to11, spend an average of 10 hours a week on test coaching

    The government are even talking about introducing assessment tests for nurseries!

    You’re right they’ve gone assement mad.

    I am a grandparent now and I am not a teacher or involved in education but it is my contention that children leave school with plenty of facts (at least some do) and no education.

    Keep up your protest!

    I used to work for a service which was delivering teaching material for all ages via an online service or CD and this was back in the late 80’s before the www existed! The government pulled the funding. Shortsighted or what!


  2. karen Says:

    Thanks for the kind words, David. I’m sorry to hear that the testing mania is just as bad there in the UK. One thing about education, though, is that it seems to be very cyclical, so I’m hopeful that things will turn around.

    Here, it looks like the next school year will be very tough, but hopefully after the elections, we’ll have a course correction.

    Anyway, thanks for listing, and keep up the good fight!

    P.S. My other site on open education is http://www.k12opened.com. This is a topic I am getting increasingly passionate about. I think open materials have the opportunity to revolutionize education.

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