Tips for Parents

 

Introduction to Standardized Tests 
 
Odds are your child will have to take at least one standardized test each academic year and, considering the bills in the U.S. Congress, standardized tests will become high-stakes tests. A high-stakes test is a standardized test tied to a major education decision, such as whether a student will advance to the next grade, enter a preferred program, or receive a high school diploma. High-stakes tests could also be tied to district or school funding, and teachers' and administrators' salaries.
 
 
Eleven Tips to Help Your Child Prepare for Tests 
 
Long Term Strategies
 
To help children prepare adequately for tests (whether teacher-made or standardized), you can do several things to provide support and create a positive test-taking experience.
 
1. The best way to prepare for tests is to study, know the work, and take the right courses.
 
2. If your child is nervous at test time, ask the teacher for tips on helping her relax.
 
3. Make sure that your child is in school during the testing sessions. Do not plan any doctor or dental appointments on test dates.
 
4. Make sure that you are aware of your child's performance and that you can help interpret the results when they become available.
 
5. Remember to keep well-informed about your child's tests. Know how test results are used and how they will affect your child's placement in school.
 
6. If there are major differences between standardized test scores and school grades, find out why.
 
7. Encourage your child to study over a period of time rather than "cram" the night before.
 
The Day of the Test
 
8. Encourage your child to listen carefully to all test-taking directions given by the teacher and to ask questions about any directions that are unclear.
 
9. See that your child gets his/her regular amount of sleep before the tests and is well-rested.
 
10. Make sure that your child eats his/her usual breakfast on the day of the test. Hunger can detract from a good test performance.
 
11. Encourage your child to do his/her best.
 
 
Additional Information Can Be Found On:
 
 
 
Questions to Ask The School 
 
1.       How many machine-scored, multiple-choice tests will my child take each year?
2.       Who mandates them? Are these high-stakes? If so, what is at stake?
3.       Do the results have an impact on specific children, or is it the school that is being measured and rated?
4.       How much time is devoted to test preparation and practice? How much money is the district spending on outside testing?
5.       Does the school share the results with students, parents, and the community
6.       What are the district, the school, and individual teachers not doing because of these tests?
7.       How does a particular test influence the curriculum?
8.       What are academic standards for each grade?
9.       What is the district's policy on high-stakes testing?
 
 
Dos and Don'ts  
 
1.       Don't be too anxious about a child's test scores. If you put too much emphasis on test scores, this can upset a child.
2.       Do encourage children. Praise them for the things they do well. If they feel good about themselves, they will do their best. Children who are afraid of failing are more likely to become anxious when taking tests and more likely to make mistakes.
3.       Don't judge a child on the basis of a single test score. Test scores are not perfect measures of what a child can do. There are many other things that might influence a test score. For example, a child can be affected by the way he or she is feeling, the setting in the classroom, or the memory of a problem at home or on the playground.
4.       Talk to your child's teacher when problems arise. Ask the teacher to suggest activities for you and your child to do at home to help prepare for tests and improve your child's understanding of schoolwork. Parents and teachers do their best work together.
5.       Provide a quiet, comfortable place for studying at home. Make sure that your child is well rested on school days and especially the day of a test. Children who are tired are less able to pay attention in class or to handle the demands of a test.
6.       It's important for children to review test results. This is especially true when they take teacher-made tests. You and the child should read and discuss all comments written by the teacher. If there are any comments that aren't clear, the child should ask the teacher to explain.