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Display The Letter “A” On Test Days & Your Students Will Do Better?

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We intentionally don’t “teach to the test” at our school, but that doesn’t mean we don’t try to make our students feel comfortable and positive on state test days. I’ve been exploring different ways to do this, and I just learned about another one.

A study just came out reporting that students who are exposed to the letter “A” on test days do better on standardized tests than those who are exposed to the letter “F” or to the letter “J” (which was used as the “control letter”).

The report says:

Adorning classrooms with symbols of achievement, such as A+ and other success-oriented words and phrases may activate effort, pride, and the intention to perform well in standardized testing situation.

I had heard about this study a week or two ago, but that short report didn’t say there had been a control group. Without one, I figured it was useless. But this lengthier article better explains the experiment’s methodology.

I haven’t really been one for displaying a lot of “gung ho” type stuff around the classroom and, instead, try to plaster the walls with student work and helpful information that students can refer to when doing their classwork. We’re supposed to cover-up a lot of that during state tests, but I suspect “success-oriented words and phrases” are allowable.

But I figure putting a few “A+” signs around certainly can’t hurt, so I’ll give it a try….

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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