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Spring brings season of tests

Spring has sprung and, for school students throughout Pike County, that unfortunately heralds the season of standardized testing.

From writing assessments to ARMT to achievement tests, most students in elementary and middle school grades will be tasked during the next six weeks or so with some type of standardized testing.

The stakes are high, for students and for schools.

The fact is, schools are graded based on students’ performance on these standardized tests. The “AYP” results that are released each fall as part of the No Child Left Behind legislation are drawn, for public schools, from the results of the spring’s standardized testing. And parents and the community often use standardized test scores as a measure of a school’s success in preparing students academically, with or without context.

That pressure isn’t lost on the teachers or the students.

Add to that the pressure that tests create for some students, and it’s a boiling pot of a situation. The best advice for parents is to help prepare, calm and reassure students before their testing dates. These tips, offered by the U.S. Department of Education’s Educational Resources Information Center on Assessment and Evaluation can help:

Talk to your child’s teacher often to monitor his or her progress and to find out what activities you can do at home that may help your child’s test performance.

Be aware of your child’s test performance and be sure that you can interpret the results when they become available.

Make sure your child is well-rested and eats a well-rounded diet.

Encourage your child to listen carefully to test-taking directions and ask questions about any instructions that are unclear.

Don’t be overly anxious about test scores, but encourage your child to take tests seriously.

Tell your child that the best way to prepare for tests – whether they’re teacher-made or standardized – is to study and know the subjects.

Of course, the standards of a good night’s sleep, a healthy breakfast and a generous dose of reassurance go a long way towards helping students do their best in the season of standardized tests.