What are “Test Tips” for the PACES?

During my first several years of running an ACE school I discovered that certain PACE tests were notorious — students always did poorly on them. I collected all the tests students completed over a period of a few years and did item analysis to determine if there were particular questions missed frequently. Sure enough, there were a number of questions that EVERY student (even my “good students” ) missed, and other questions missed by more than half of students. From my years of experience as a teacher, that data indicated to me that those questions were not “valid” and I should either skip them or give students a “tip” to study something specific before taking the test. The tips are NOT the test questions, just a study guide to use in addition to reviewing check-ups and self-test.

I then compiled these tips into a format that I could print out as stickers on Avery labels and I put the sticker at the end of the Self-Test. They can also just be printed to a sheet of paper and used for reference throughout the year. I have created test tips for

You can access these tips from the various pages with resources for each subject. Clicking on the link there automatically downloads the file

Is this cheating?

Students who are used to doing PACES know that they need to study the Self Test and review all three Check-Ups in the PACE before doing the final test. In most cases that level of study results in good (or at least passing) test scores. When students who have studied hard and feel prepared do poorly on a test because the test included obscure questions (or poorly written questions) they feel frustrated and wish they had been warned. In an established school where the Supervisor just “knows” which questions or sections of a test are tough, she may be able to give those warnings verbally before the student turns in the PACE for the test. But many students do not have that benefit and these test tips help supply those helps.

If the test questions were being posted, or a “cheat sheet” of answers, THAT would be cheating. However, the test tips are more general and just remind students to be familiar with a concept or term they will encounter on the test that is not well reviewed on the Self Test.

Check out a page of test tips – here’s one for Physical Science – and decide for yourself if they are useful! Then click on a subject under the Student section of the menu and look for the link to Test Tips.

If you have suggestions for improving the Test Tips or a subject that you thinks needs the Tips, let me know!

2 Comments to “What are “Test Tips” for the PACES?”

  1. Would you be willing to do Test Tips for some difficult PACEs in English and Math in other grades apart from High School?

    1. I would be open to feedback about which subjects and specific PACE tests are giving your students trouble and perhaps creating videos or test tips for them. Use the contact form on the website to open a conversation.

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