How to Move Students from Pass to Proficient

Published on Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 by


At MasteryPrep, we know how much student growth affects your accountability and school score. We also understand that most test prep focuses on helping already high-scoring students perfect their performance. However, students who have just a decent grasp of the content are often left behind. They know the material and demonstrate understanding, but their standardized test scores won’t budge. Getting students to improve from Pass to Proficient, though, is crucial for achieving your growth metrics.

Intervention is always possible, and there are many ways to impact students at this performance level if you know the right approach. Fortunately, we’ve condensed years of experience and research into the following tips just for you.

Study the Most Frequently Tested Content

In a traditional education environment, students are expected to learn and understand a subject in its entirety. However, when it comes to success on standardized tests, it’s important to be intentional and efficient with test prep. This means focusing your efforts on the topics that appear most often on the test and, furthermore, only the specific ways that content gets tested. At MasteryPrep, we’ve done the research for you.

The first step of every curriculum we build is to determine content frequency through careful content analysis and test study. Our MAAP Algebra I Boot Camp, therefore, focuses only on the skills students need most to see score increases. Because of this, hosting a Boot Camp at your school, even in the final weeks leading up to the test, can have a drastic impact on student performance. Learn more about the MAAP Algebra I Boot Camp here.

Use Familiarity to Your Advantage

Being in a new environment or around new people can make even the most confident and savvy people feel vulnerable, nervous, and clumsy. It’s important to bank on this idea in standardized testing. If a student has seen the test a million times, they are automatically more comfortable and confident than a student who hasn’t. They feel at ease, and modern psychology has proven that subconsciously this plays a huge role in their performance. Test anxiety is significantly reduced, and confidence gets a boost.

The best way to create this positive effect for students is to have students work on real practice questions. While it’s not wrong to spend time on extensive content study, never underestimate the impact of simple repeated exposure to the question formats, layout, even font styles and spacing. By exposing them to the test repeatedly, students naturally build familiarity and therefore confidence and test fluency.

Reduce Careless Errors

Too often, capable students lose points they deserve. In order to help your students make the leap from just passing the test to performing with proficiency, it’s crucial to help them earn every point they can. Start by teaching students to slow down, show their work, and even go back at the end of the test to check their work. There’s no reason for students not to take advantage of an untimed test by spending the extra minute it takes to work through a problem carefully.

Be sure to check out our previous post on common calculation errors specific to Algebra I and how to help students avoid them.

Become a Better Test Taker

There’s nothing more painful than watching a student who thoroughly knows the content freeze on test day. Luckily, it’s never too late for students to master test-taking skills. In fact, good test-taking will impact a student’s entire education trajectory. Through our research and analysis, we’ve honed in on the specific test-taking tips that will most significantly impact students taking the MAAP Algebra I assessment. We present these skills in our MAAP Algebra I Boot Camp for students. Using these tips and practice questions, students see instant improvement during the event. We bank on this experience of instant gratification because it is motivating and empowering, which increases the knowledge retention of these skills.

To take advantage of this unique and effecting intervention, request a quote for a MAAP Algebra I Boot Camp here.


This spring, our goal is to help you meet both your performance and growth metrics. Helping students grow from Pass to Proficient can be challenging, but we’re here to help. No students should be stuck at barely getting by. With the right tools and support, every student can achieve.