For high-school students, final exams are just around the corner. And, like it or not, third- through eighth-graders are getting ready to take federally mandated standardized tests.
Following are some best practices to help your student get the most out of testing:
Prepare in advance
- Help students continue to build and maintain good homework and study habits.
- Stay on top of school performance and communicate regularly with teachers.
- Discuss good test-taking strategies, including: understand instructions, answer questions you know first, and be sure to review your answers if you finish early.
Know what to expect
- Request information about the test schedule and format, how students are being coached at school, and what is being measured.
- Find out if results could affect future placement.
- Ask about test-taking strategies and how students can prepare or practice at home.
Keep testing in perspective
- Consider that standardized tests are only one measure of academic achievement.
- Try not to transfer your concerns or put too much emphasis on testing; children may become anxious if they are worried about disappointing a parent.
- Be mindful that test results help identify strengths as well as areas in need of improvement.
Get ready the day before
- Encourage students to follow instructions, relax, and do their best.
- Make sure children are well rested, eat a healthy breakfast, and pack nutritious school snacks.
- Pack-up the night before so you can have a relaxed morning and arrive early to school.
Interpret test results and build skills
- If you are not sure how to read test-result data, request help from the school.
- Ask teachers about discrepancies between school performance and test scores.
- Provide additional opportunities for children to enhance learning in low-scoring areas.
- Continue to build good homework and study habits; these skills support successful test taking.
Many schools have a no-homework policy during test weeks. Tutors are eager to help students use these stress-free afternoons to catch-up, revisit missed concepts, and even get ahead!