Schools use standardized testing to measure the performance of individual students and the school, overall, by comparing test performance results against standards. In general, there are two types of these tests:
- Achievement: These test your child’s knowledge on a specific subject
- Aptitude: These focus on predicting a child’s ability to learn by measuring problem-solving and reasoning skills
These tests also help schools determine where they need to put more of a focus, which means that results are important to students, teachers and school districts alike. To help, this post will share tips to help prepare your child for these types of high-stakes tests.
One of the best test preparation techniques is for your child to simply stay up on homework. Learning is a steady progression, and keeping up with daily work is a much better strategy than trying to cram for any test, especially standardized ones.
To better prepare your child, it helps to collaborate with teachers to find out how well your child appears to understand material. Plus, if you can find out and explain to your child why certain assignments are being made — and how doing them can ultimately help with the upcoming standardized tests — this might add an extra dose of motivation.
Also ask the teacher for recommendations about practice tests. The State of Ohio provides a site with information about practice tests that may really make a difference in your child’s scores.
Read with your child and/or encourage him or her to also read independently. Discuss what has been read so you can see how well your child is comprehending the content. This is also an excellent way to help increase your child’s vocabulary.
The U.S. Department of Education encourages parents to praise their children, also noting that children who fear failure are more likely to experience anxiety on test-taking days — which can lead to errors. It’s important for parents to not become upset if a test score isn’t what they expected or hoped for.
If you know that your child gets nervous about tests or is anxious about the standardized tests in particular, teach him or her relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing.
Provide your child with a comfortable place where they can study at home and encourage him or her to plan ahead for test taking. This includes having all materials ready the night before and getting enough sleep.
Morning of the Test
First, make sure there’s a healthy breakfast available (here are four cheap, family-friendly, healthy options to consider). Attitude also matters — with a relaxed and positive attitude being the best foundation for the morning of the test — so do all you can to keep a calm atmosphere at home as your child gets ready for school.
Tips you can offer to prepare your child for actual test taking include:
- Read directions carefully before starting to take the test. If something confuses you, ask the teacher for an explanation.
- Scan through the test to see how many questions are on it, and what type they are. This can give your child the ability to see how much time they should spend on each part.
- Skip questions where the answer isn’t known. If there is time at the end of the test, your child can go back and try again.