The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) annually measures students' reading and math skills in grades three to eight. While it's important that teachers prepare their students in the academic content needed to succeed, it is also vital that students are motivated to put all of their effort into the exam. To ensure that a lack of motivation doesn't stop your students from succeeding, engage in some motivational activities prior to this exam.
Students may be more likely to put effort into their exam if they have performance goals. In the weeks leading up to the test, ask your students to set goals for themselves. Provide them with copies of their scores on previous STAARs or practice exams designed to replicate the test so they can see where they are currently and set a reachable goal. After the exam, revisit the goal and ask the students to evaluate whether or not they reached their targets.
STAAR Incentive System
While some students have an intrinsic motivation to succeed, others need some extrinsic motivation to get them to focus on the test. Create an incentive system for your pupils to give them a tangible reason to strive for success. Set up a tiered system, offering your students rewards such pens or pencils if they achieve a certain score, T-shirts if they get a slightly higher one and something more significant, such as movie tickets or a pass to a favourite amusement area, if they score in the highest tier. Advertise this incentive system so it can effectively motivate your students.
Door Decorating Contest
Beautify your school community and keep the upcoming test on students' minds by arranging a door decorating contest. Ask the teachers to decorate their doors with the help of the homeroom classes. Ask the door decorators to plan decorations that promote high performance on the test, creating motivational slogans or engaging pictures that relate to the assessment. Allow students to vote for the best door and reward the winning homeroom to further increase excitement.
STAAR Idol Competition
Encourage creativity in your students while promoting STAAR success. Ask students to compose songs that deal with the STAAR exam. Enlist the help of the music teacher, asking her to assist students in completing this task. During the week before the STAAR, allow students or groups of students to perform their compositions on the morning announcements or during lunch. Select one overall STAAR Idol winner, or reward all students brave enough to give it a try.
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