I really dislike having to spend my valuable class time preparing students for standardized tests. Most of the time, it just sucks the joy from the room. I have found a few tools that make it somewhat less painful.
One of my favorites for making test prep less painful is Prodigy Game. Prodigy really does deliver as a game. Students battle monsters and each other in a virtual world by answering math problems that level up or down to match the student’s performance. Teacher accounts are free because the company wants to connect with parents to sell them a paid upgrade that allows their children to get special member only items. The only downside I see is if you have many students who get the upgrade, those who can’t might feel left out. Teachers can monitor student progress, as can parents if they sign up to do so.
Another useful test prep tool is Khan Academy. While it is not as Gamelike as Prodigy, the point system and the mastery challenges make contests and incentives easy to plan and administer. Khan Academy also offers a very wide variety of subjects and levels. While both Prodigy and Khan Academy offer tutorials when students are having difficulty, those from Khan Academy are definitely more detailed.
A good source for preformatted and grouped banks of test prep questions is Edulastic. There are many premade practice questions, but what I really like is the ability to create your own assessment set within the program. The sets you make can also be shared and all of the assessments have the standards they test right on the little cover image. The way the test items appear looks very professional, just like the real standardized tests. Edulastic also includes a wide variety of topics and levels.
Test prep will never be my favorite thing, but there are some tools to make it easier.