Getting the Most out of Your New Test Prep Tools
So you’ve taken the leap and stepped up your test prep game with a new curriculum, now what?
It doesn’t matter if you have the most engaging and approachable test prep curriculum in your local market, if you aren’t wielding it in the most effective ways possible, your students won’t reach their greatest heights.
Training your staff
Simply purchasing the best test prep curriculum for teachers or tutors won’t automatically produce results. Instructional staff will need training and professional development on how to get the most out of the tools they have been provided with.
So before putting new curriculum in front of students, dedicate time for staff to roll up their sleeves and dig in for themselves. Ideally, this should involve some guided support to guarantee that both instructional and management staff have a firm grasp of how the tools and software work together to create a comprehensive test prep experience.
Failing to do so can hamstring your tutoring programs. Odds are, without proper training, your test prep tutors will simply gravitate to the SAT and ACT practice worksheets that seem the most self-explanatory and leave the rest of the available materials and features to collect dust.
Clear Choice Prep offers clients several ways to ensure that tutors are prepared to get the most out of their new, custom-branded test prep materials. To start with, each tutor account includes a free practice student account where staff members can engage with the software first-hand - exactly the way a client would. Seeing tools from both an instructor’s and a tutor’s perspective can help create a clear picture of how everything works.
For a more structured support experience, Clear Choice Prep’s completely free tutor certification course guides tutors through the tools at their disposal to maximize student success on the SAT and ACT. The combination of both written and multi-media infused content sets tutors up for success both with preparing students for the SAT and ACT and with the Clear Choice Prep materials themselves.
What's more, owners of test prep companies can use the certification course as an evaluative tool to assess how familiar their staff members are with the tests and the test prep materials before pairing them up with students.
Ultimately, if you are taking the steps to make your test prep offerings more personalized, differentiated, accessible, and comprehensive, you should also be sure your staff has had the chance to learn how the available toolsets can make those goals a reality.
Familiarizing students with the toolsets
Once you have an ACT or SAT curriculum for tutors in place, the next step is ensuring students can effectively engage with it.
Certain aspects of test prep curriculum are fairly self-explanatory to most students: there are instructions to read, tasks to engage with, questions to answer, and scores to earn. However, without some deliberate guidance, students may not know about features like explanatory videos or baked-in self-assessment tools. Since much of effective test prep happens between sessions, making sure students know how to use your curricular tools independently is crucial.
From the first session onward, make sure students are hands-on with the software and whatever test prep practice worksheets you are providing. Especially in the early goings, there should be supports in place to assist students with any logistical questions about any of the provided test prep tools. The last thing a student needs is a wasted week of practice because they didn’t know how to access their work!
Bringing parents into the loop
When it comes to preparing for the SAT or ACT, parents must be part of the equation If you are expecting to maximize student accountability.
Just as you should take purposeful steps to familiarize staff and students with the available test prep tools, parents need to know how your system enables them to be involved.
Clear Choice Prep offers parents rich, branded score reports as well as the ability to receive automated progress updates. These features are incredibly useful, but do no good if parents are not aware that they exist.
While these accountability features should most definitely be part of your pitch when courting clients, make sure they remain part of the ongoing conversation. Supply parents with materials like user guides or how-to sheets to help them access and keep up to date with what is (or isn’t) getting accomplished. Consider creating visible marketing materials like refrigerator magnets or writing utensils that may serve to help remind parents to check in on their children’s progress more regularly.
Simply put, the more comfortable your parents, students and staff are with your test prep program, the more everyone can get out of it.
What structures or systems do you have in place to help stakeholders engage with your test prep tools? Share your successes with our readers in the comments below!