Prepare your child for standardized testing at home

State standardized assessments are required under both state and federal law, to ensure all children are learning and receiving a high-quality education.

State assessments are “summative,” meaning they measure what students are expected to know and be able to do at specific grade levels and in specific content areas.

Your child may take one or more standardized tests during the school year, and your child’s teacher may spend class time preparing students for the upcoming challenge. Preparation is not just answering test questions, but also how to approach a challenge with perseverance and self-confidence. As a parent, there are ways that you can support your child’s daily learning habits that will help them be more prepared when they encounter assessment situations.

While many parents, educators, and policymakers may disagree about the kinds of tests given, how the scores are used, and how often students are tested, it is important to be supportive of your child’s efforts on standardized tests, and to help them do their best. These tests are measurement tools for educators to evaluate student progress and performance. They help identify areas for improvement for students, as well as for instruction.

These tips have been adapted from articles published by Scholastic, Inc., the National Parent Teacher Association, and the International Reading Association.

•Successful test-takers tend to be students with good attendance, homework, and study habits; therefore, your daily support with homework and a positive attitude toward school have the biggest impact on your child’s performance.

•Encourage good study habits and challenge critical-thinking skills.

•Monitoring academics and staying in communication with teachers can help prevent potential problems. Good reading skills factor heavily in a these assessments, so encourage reading (magazines, newspapers, or even comic books if they shy away from books) as much as possible. Testing also measures critical-thinking ability, so ask your child to discuss ideas or voice their opinion to stimulate this thinking.

•Relax and remain positive. The best test-takers are confident, motivated, and at ease. Even if you are nervous about your child’s performance, be cautious of transferring that concern to your child. Some kids actually enjoy testing challenges! If your child is likely to get nervous, practice a few relaxation techniques, including counting to ten or taking deep breaths, which can help relieve anxiety during the test.

•Remember that standardized tests and grading systems are not perfect; each format has its own limitations. As you help your child do their best on the tests they take and in all their schoolwork, also remind them that testing is only one part of education.

All of the schools within the Copper County Intermediate School District strive to prepare students for life skills, not just testing skills. Perseverance and determination will help your child succeed in many tasks outside of the classroom, beyond just test taking. With your support and engagement, your child will be well on their way to a bright future.

George Stockero is superintendent of the Copper Country Intermediate School District.