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You Ought to Know: Test Prep Incentives

Hi All! Happy Saturday!
Today I am linking up with Mrs. McClain over at Buzzing with Mrs. McClain for her monthly You Oughta Know blog hop. Other bloggers and I will be sharing things that you “oughta know” for your classroom.

For the past three weeks, I have been blogging about Test Prep Tips in an effort to simplify test prep preparation and anxiety for students AND teachers. 


This month, You Oughta Know About... Testing Incentives!!!

With the state test looming at the end of the month, it is easy for teachers and students to be overwhelmed with the preparation for it. 

Enter Star Charms!

Reading Stars

Back Story 

When I was teaching, we had to some up with a way of encouraging our students to show what they know for the ACTAAP test (The Arkansas State Test). We chose to focus specifically on Open Response Questions because of their weight on the test and our students past issues in answering them correctly. 


We ran the program in 3-5, because those are the tested grades, and the grades of our Upper Elementary School. All students took an open response question in math and in reading and turned them into the principal. It was a simple question taken from past tests, printed on a half sheet of paper. Students had 15 minutes to answer each question and write their names on the paper. Afterwards, all of the papers were collected and turned into the main office. 
The students who were proficient/advanced received their papers back with one of these stars.  


Students loved them! They loved wearing them on their wrists or on their necklaces and earning them for showing what they knew! We saw a dramatic difference in students energy and enthusiasm when prepping for the test. One of the best parts was how inexpensive the stars were. They are $5.49 for 25 multi-colored charms and $20 for a 100.
Math Award Stars


Thinking over this system, I would definitely award students stars based on growth on each category.  You want to encourage ALL students as much as possible and encourage their growth. 

I would also purchase additional charm packs for other incentives. There are number packs that I would use to track how many books each of my students read throughout the year.


Standardized Test Prep Freebie!

I love that the star theme also carries over to this FREEBIE, I made to track student progress on specific learning objectives. 

Click the link for Math Stars and Reading Stars!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing about testing incentives, and I have loved reading about your test prep tips. My first graders don't take standardized tests at the end of they year, but they do have a very important end of the year test. But many of your tips have still helped my prep my little firsties :-)

    Buzzing With Mrs. McClain

    1. Thank you so much for your comment and for hosting this blog hop! It was my very first but I appreciate how easy you made it! I'm so glad some of these tips were helpful to you and your students :)


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