Applying the Science of Learning to Effective Test Readiness

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Kaplan K12 Learning Services’ White Paper Offers Research-Based Insight On What Makes for Effective Test Readiness Instruction

New York (March 26, 2012) – While preparing for exams has been part of the student experience since the invention of tests, approaches for doing so can vary widely. However, a large body of research shows that successful performance relies on three fundamental factors: knowledge of the content; familiarity with the exam’s structure, conditions and tasks; and ability to apply critical thinking. Kaplan’s new white paper, “Effective Test Readiness: What the Research Says,” outlines six key research findings that guide the design of programs that support these fundamental factors.

Author Marcella Bullmaster-Day, Ed.D., the associate director of the Lander Center for Educational Research Touro College, pulls from a range of cognitive science research to provide a concise overview for what goes into an effective test readiness program.

There were six key findings from the research:

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Effective test readiness programs…

  • Prioritize the content students need to know for exam success
  • Understand and meet individual student learning needs
  • Provide repeated practice under pressure in test-like conditions
  • Appropriately integrate text, visuals, animations, narration and behavioral activities to support cognitive processing
  • Harness the power of working memory for optimal learning and development of critical thinking skills
  • Develop key cognitive strategies that students can apply to the classroom and beyond and provide students with strategies that match the demands of the test

“Because Kaplan is committed to supporting students with the most effective and efficient test preparation, our state assessment and college test readiness programs are grounded in this research,” said Justin Serrano, president of Kaplan K12 and College Prep. “Our Smart Track™ adaptive learning platform combines a student’s strengths and weaknesses with SmartPoints™, the highest priority standards with the most points on the exam, to design his or her personalized syllabus. Students can confidently carry these proven study and test-taking strategies with them beyond the exams and into the next phases of their academic careers to achieve their personal best.”

In short, students need to know the content, know the test, and know the strategies. These three core elements of assessment readiness can be improved through focused study, rigorous practice and explicit, carefully designed instruction. With more than 70 years of experience in preparing students for high-stakes exams, Kaplan’s programs combine proven methodology, data-driven learning from millions of students, academic best practices, and adaptive technologies to deliver effective learning outcomes.


About Kaplan K12 Learning Services, LLC

Kaplan K12 Learning Services , LLC(www.kaplank12.com) partners with schools to measurably propel student achievement. Kaplan K12 offers state test readiness programs to help students meet and exceed state standards, and college preparation solutions that support students as they prepare for college entrance exams and the admissions process. Its solutions also provide teachers with robust Kaplan K12 resources and professional development support to impact achievement in their classrooms. Kaplan K12 Learning Services is a division of Kaplan Inc. (www.kaplan.com), a subsidiary of The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO).