Preparing children for standardized testing
Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 15, 2003
Parents should not expect to leave test preparation up to the teachers, especially since there is a two-week vacation from school.
Playing the role of a teacher is just as important for parents, and there are a number of sources to help parents prepare their children for the Standard Achievement Test 10.
A good place to look is the internet.
Often teacher and school websites will have practice tests and timed tests that parents can easily practice with their child.
Also, don't exclude college websites.
Often those are the best resources for explaining test types and test-taking strategies.
Scholastic's website, www.scholastic.com, gave a number of tips and stories aimed to help prepare students for standardized testing.
Remain positive and you will help your child think positively.
Remind them it is only a test, but encourage them to do the very best they can.
Read fun books or do fun activities with your children so they aren't completely devoid of learning throughout the break.
Replace fear with anticipation and be creative.
Before your youngster heads off to school, give him or her a &uot;magic pencil&uot; to help them on their test.
Or, plan a special activity they can look forward to doing when they get home.
Practice timed tests.
You can do this at home.
Use your child's math book or reading book and ask them to do a number of problems in a specific amount of time.
This could especially help younger students who aren't used to taking timed tests.
Taking the test is just as important as preparing, and this is when college websites can really help.
Read the following strategies with your children.
They were adapted from test-taking tips on the MIT website, www.mit.edu:
Listen carefully to the teacher as she hands out the test because she may have last-minute directions or advice.
Look to see how many questions are listed so you know how many you have to answer.
You might be able to ask your teacher before she hands out the test.
Carefully read true or false questions.
A statement has to be all true before you can mark it true.
If you aren't sure, mark true because tests tend to have more true answers than false.
Read all the answers for multiple choice questions before you mark your answer.
If you aren't sure, start by crossing off the answers you know are wrong.
Mark what you think is the best answer and don't second-guess yourself.
Carefully read math and science problems and then say it back to yourself in your own words.
Ask yourself if you remember doing a problem like that in class.
If you get stuck, move on to the next problem and go back to the hard one if you have time.
Always double-check your answers if you have time left at the end of the test.
Ask your teacher for help if you don't understand the question.
She can't help you find the answer, but if the question confuses you, she can explain what it is asking.
Take a deep breath before the test and if you start to get nervous during the test.
Remember that the test doesn't have any information you haven't already learned.
Parents need to remember that making sure their child is prepared physically will help reduce anxiety and increase positive thinking.
The day before the test, make sure you answer any other questions your child might have, encourage them and make sure they get to bed early.
On the day of the test, wake your child up early enough to get ready for school and eat a healthy breakfast without rushing.