6 Skills to N T A Improve ELLs’ Test Scores Informing & Inspiring New Teachers a Kappa Delta Pi publication Volume 24, No.2 bit.ly/NTAW16v24 KDP Executive Director FAYE SNODGRESS Managing Editor SALLY RUSHMORE By Shad Bell Assistant Editors KATHIE-JO ARNOFF LAURIE QUAY EMILY ZOSS Art Director CHUCK JARRELL NTA Advisors THERESA BECCATELLI HEATHER COWHERD ROBERT GRIGGS MADELINE KOVARIK JACQUELINE MANN LISA MURLEY ROBIN QUICK ADRIENNE REDDY GINA RILEY STEPHANIE SCHAEFER TINA SNOW NICHOLAS J. ULIANO In 2012, 28% of the students who took the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) were English language learners, or ELLs (Abdul-Alim, 2012). English learners often become frustrated with not understanding questions or not finishing the test. These students also often have poor scores on standardized tests (Abedi & Lin-quanti, n.d.), which influence their acceptance into universities or colleges. Two keys to improving ELLs’ scores on these tests are teaching prereading and test management strategies. Prereading Strategies One of the most important strategies for suc-cessfully navigating assessments is prereading. Pre-reading means reading through the questions and answers, searching for keywords and context clues, before performing the actual exam tasks. By using these three skills of prereading, the ELL has a better chance of answering the questions correctly. 1. Find keywords: Read the questions and answers ﬁrst, looking for words in the questions that will be in the answers. 2. Recognize sight words: Identify high-frequency words in the questions and answers. 3. Know synonyms: Recognize several words that match or are similar to the keywords. Teach ELLs the usefulness of ﬁnding keywords and sight words in the questions and answers (Lougheed, 2013). Short-term memory works well with visual cues (Educational Testing Service, 2012b). Another skill that ties in with prereading is synonym study. Many assessments evaluate the test takers’ comprehension by using a synonym for a keyword in the questions or answers. For example, if the ELL knows only the phrase “dramatic increase,” but the exam uses “upward motion,” the ELL may not understand the question (IELTS Exam Tips, 2014). By reviewing synonyms, the ELL will gain another prereading advantage. Teaching these strategies increases the ELLs’ exam scores and their overall competency in the classroom. When the English learner can recognize keywords, sight words, and synonyms, he or she will be able to understand the content more quickly. ISSN 1070-7379 published four times during the school year by Kappa Delta Pi, 3707 Woodview Trace, Indianapolis, IN 46268-1158. Send all subscription orders and editorial correspondence to address above, call 1-800-284-3167, or visit KDP Online at www.kdp.org. Subscription rate: $14.00, members, per year, $25.00 for 2 years; $20.00, nonmembers, $35.00 for 2 years. Single copies, $7.00 (+s&h). Third-class bulk permit paid at Columbus, Ohio. Postmaster does not return issue to publisher with address change. Subscriber must send changes to: Kappa Delta Pi, 3707 Woodview Trace, Indianapolis, IN 46268-1158. ©2016 Kappa Delta Pi. All rights reserved.