I provide students in Algebra I with a review for assessments about 3 days before the test. I am straight forward about what will be on the test. Most of the time I provide the same format, same type of problems, but with different numbers.
Some teachers may call this teaching to the test, but I believe that students should learn to prepare for the format of the test. Teachers also should assess on what they have taught. Test are not meant to try to trick students. Tests are meant to assess for understanding and mastery of certain concepts and problems.
When I provide students with challenge problems, it is in the form of a formative assessment not on a test. This allows students to reduce the fear of being wrong, and focus on their own ability to think and problem solve. I feel immediate feedback is important for all the types of problems students work, but it doesn't have to be in the form of a test.
The purpose of this Test is to write the equation of a line given the following:
As well as recognize and be able to solve problems involving direct and inverse variation.
I allow all students to take a Retake as many time as needed. I change the numbers, but keep the problems and the format the same. Most of the time, students will need to come in on their own time to my free tutoring sessions to take the retake test. Sometimes I will provide a day of individual white board review and the retake in class if I feel it will benefit the majority of the class. The others that do not need a retake, I provide an additional activity, usually online.
Math builds and is a process. This is a 9th grade class, but I work with all level of students, from 3rd grade level to above the 9th grade level. The retake test allows all students to learn.