CommonLit Best Practices Elementary Classrooms Secondary Classrooms 4 Ways to Use CommonLit for Standardized Test Prep

CommonLit has thousands of practice lessons, a free reading assessment, and targeted skills-based lessons teachers can use for standardized test prep.

Educators are always looking for ways to build student reading skills and prepare students for state testing, and CommonLit is an effective resource for both. Recent studies have shown that increased CommonLit usage leads to increased student performance on state tests.

As the testing season approaches, here’s a list of four strategies that teachers can use CommonLit to help prepare students for end-of-year testing:

#1: Use our thousands of library lessons as standardized test practice.

CommonLit’s digital library has over 3,000 lessons that come with standards-aligned assessments. Our standards-aligned lessons include multiple choice and short answer questions meant to mimic high-stakes testing and help students grapple with complex questions. CommonLit has a variety of genres so students can practice fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and more, gaining exposure to all types of passages they will see on their state tests.

CommonLit has a variety of tools meant to deepen student understanding, including Guided Reading Mode. This optional feature provides students with check-for-understanding questions as they read to ensure they are comprehending the material. As teachers begin standardized test prep with students, it might be helpful to turn this feature on for students that might benefit from this scaffold. However, as testing approaches, teachers should turn this feature off since students will not have the support of these scaffolds while testing.

#2: Invest students in their progress using data reports during state test prep.

When teachers assign online lessons on CommonLit, they gain access to a plethora of student data. Teachers can use this data in two ways: first, to invest students in their progress and second, to plan targeted instruction.

In particular, CommonLit’s standards-based data dashboards are a useful tool for standardized test prep. Individual student reports provide a chart with students’ average performance on every standard as well as a breakdown of the assignments related to each standard. Teachers can download and print standards reports to share with their students. Then, they can have individual conferences with students to talk about their progress, which types of questions they need to work on, and set goals for future practice.

Use our data-driven dashboards during standardized test preps to get at-a-glance data of students' progress towards mastering grade-level skills.

#3: Use data-driven instruction to assign lessons that target key skills.

Another way to use the standards-based data dashboards is to plan targeted instruction with CommonLit’s Target Lessons. Target Lessons are easy-to-use, highly engaging lessons that focus on a specific reading skill. The lessons include Pre-Reading, During Reading, and Post-Reading activities to build student knowledge as they move throughout the lesson.

CommonLit has over 200 Target Lessons for grades 3-12 that are perfect for standardized test prep, helping students build and improve key skills they need to be successful on state tests.

In the table above, the student has an average of 33% on all RI.1 lessons. Their teacher can assign a Target Lesson on finding the best evidence. This focused instruction will help students be successful when they run into RI.1 lessons on their standardized tests.

#4: Assign our free or premium reading assessment during standardized test practice to mimic high-stakes testing.

CommonLit offers a couple options for full practice assessments. These assessments are similar to what students will see on their standardized testswith multiple reading comprehension passages and standards-aligned multiple choice questions. Teachers should set up a classroom environment identical to what students can expect during state testing. Similar rules and routines should be followed so students know what to expect and are less nervous and uneasy during standardized testing.

As part of state test prep, individual teachers whose schools do not pay for a partnership with CommonLit can assign our Free Reading Assessment.Available for grades 3-12, this test includes three reading passages, 20+ multiple choice questions, and it tests students on a wide range of skills. After the assessment, teachers will have access to data on how students performed and how they did in comparison to other students around the country who took the same grade-level diagnostic.

During standardized test prep, teachers can assign our free or premium reading assessment to mimic high-stakes testing for students.

In schools with a partnership with CommonLit, teachers can assign our premium assessments as a form of standardized test prep. Our Assessment Series includes three benchmark assessments to track student progress over the course of the year. Students can take the Mid-Year Assessment or Post-Assessment during standardized test prep.

Next Steps

If you are a teacher looking to best utilize CommonLit to prepare students for standardized testing, check out our Target Lessons.

If you are a school leader interested in learning more about how to best leverage CommonLit in your school or district: