Making End of Level Testing Easy

The end of the school year has several implications for educators. One of the most important is end of level testing. Many districts have already started and perhaps even finished testing their students. For those about to begin this high-stakes activity, do you have a plan to review the concepts you’ve worked so hard to teach all year? Wouldn’t it be nice (don’t start singing that Beach Boys song just yet) if there were lessons available that provided a simple and engaging method of review? Of course, review lessons should be correlated to the specific standard in question. There is a resource that addresses this need quite nicely. Ironically, you’ve probably used this resource but not been aware all it has to offer. Do you have a SMART board in your classroom? If you do, hopefully you know about the SMART Exchange. You may already be familiar with the Exchange as a repository of SMART board lessons, but did you know that you can find specific lessons correlated to your state’s core standards? Let’s head over to the Exchange and have a look.

SMART Exchange and Standards-Correlated Lessons

 Because we live in an internet-dependent world, I’m sure many of you asked, “What is the URL for the SMART Exchange?” Okay, here’s the URL: But we’re talking about technology, so there’s always another way to accomplish the same thing. I won’t say this is the right way or a better way; this is just another way to get to the Exchange. If you are already working in SMART Notebook software, you can simply click a toolbar icon that will automatically take you to the Exchange. In versions 10.8 and 11 of Notebook software, you will find the following icon on the toolbar by default. Here is where the icon is found on the toolbar in Notebook 11:


Note: Yes, Notebook 11 is out of Beta and available for download at Check out Bob Jackman’s video blog on what’s new in Notebook 11 here.

Okay, now that you have arrived at the Exchange there is one step you must take before you can take advantage of all the educational goodness that is the SMART Exchange: you must create an account. The upper right corner of the page has a link, “Join for free!” Click on that link, enter your information, and you’ll be ready to download lessons.

Search Methods
Lessons can be found one of three ways. First, you can enter a term or title in the main search field. Second, you can browse by subject, grade level, or file type. Third, you can search by your state’s core-curriculum standard. While this post will focus on the latter method of search, here is an image of the interface for the first two methods.




State Core Curriculum Standards

The clean simple interface allows youto select your state, grade level and subject matter. I’ve entered Utah Core curriculum, grade 5, and math for my search. Clicking VIEW shows the results for the parameters I’ve entered and it looks like this:

Now, let’s say I needed to review MA.5.1.2.a, comparing fractions by finding a common denominator, with my students. Scrolling down through my results I see that MA.5.1.2.a has ‘View Resources’ under the description. Clicking on this expands the view showing what I can download and use as a review with my students. Remember, many of these files are in Notebook lesson file format, but some may be SMART Table activities (more likely seen on a search that includes younger grades), SMART Response questions, or Notebook Math Tools lessons. Just be sure to check the file description as show below.

Hopefully, this will ease some of the stress you’re feeling about end of level testing. As educators, we are all feeling that same stress. You want your students to do well and you want your students to learn, so give them an engaging interactive review to ensure their success on the end of level tests. Go to the SMART Exchange, establish an account, and find those lessons that will remind your student what you’ve been sharing with them throughout the school year. Once you’re done with that and you’re ready to start looking ahead to next year, take the time to review Bob Jackman’s video overview of Notebook 11. In the meantime, I’ll be doing my best to focus on my work and ignore the sunshine outside my office window. Would I be showing my age if I broke out in the chorus of War’s Summer?


Ray Sahagun

Ray Sahagun is a graduate student at Southern Utah University seeking a Masters in Education. He earned a B.A. in Communication from California State University, Fresno in 2002. He has taught Third, Fourth, and Fifth grade students over four years in the classroom. Ray's background is in telecommunications and he has worked in customer service, provisioning, and was a supervisor of technicians in a network operations center. Driven by the belief that technology can open many doors for students that have previously remained closed, Ray looks for meaningful ways to integrate technology into classrooms. Ray is an Education Solution Specialist at The Chariot Group, Inc.

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