Decidedly Academic. Distinctively Christian.
With spring comes annual standardized testing for students nationwide. Why do students have to participate? What can you do to prepare your child? How is the information used? These are questions frequently asked by parents. Being informed is a great beginning for student success.
What are standardized tests?
Standardized implies that all students, nationwide, taking these tests receive the exact directions, time limits, and scoring procedures. By administering the tests in a standardized way, educators can compare student, class, and school results. Testing includes key academic areas such as reading, vocabulary, math, science, social sciences, and even reasoning.
How is the information used?
After scoring, tests are analyzed by districts, administrators and faculty. The tests give useful information as to how individual students or a class did compared to national and local norms. Teachers can use the information to guide instruction for an individual student or the class as a whole. Standardized tests can also help determine if students have mastered certain academic objectives.
How can I help my child prepare for the tests?
Preparation should occur over a length of time. You can help improve your child’s success by exposing them to a wide variety of activities. Family trips to museums, farms, cultural centers, etc. give students background knowledge from which to draw. Reading a wide range of both fiction and nonfiction books gives them well- rounded reading experiences and helps build vocabulary. Try to include experiences like reading a menu at a restaurant, reading a map or directions for driving, practice reading recipes and cooking using measuring tools. Allow your child to pay for trips to the store and count the change; life experiences can go a long way in helping a child on standardized tests.
In the days leading up to this year’s testing, you can help your child by making sure they get enough sleep each night, don’t over schedule activities or late night events, make sure they have a good breakfast each day, and arrive to school on time. Students coming in late start their day flustered, and this is not a good feeling for anyone.
Above all, encourage your child to just do their best. It is important to remember that these tests are just one piece to the assessment puzzle; they are a snap shot in time. As William Bruce Cameron said, “… not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted”. These tests do not tell the whole story. Class participation, homework, projects, quizzes, tests and teacher impressions also provide valuable information and help guide instruction. The ultimate goal for any test, including standardized test, is to have a quality impact on classroom instruction.