Every year in the spring kids all over the country take state testing. Regardless of your stance, on testing, it is a reality of our school system. With that in mind, this post is a collection of articles on how to best prepare your child for these tests.
“Cry in training, laugh on the battlefield.” — Samurai maxim
- Understanding Assessment: Resources for Parents (EDUTOPIA)
- How You Can Help Your Child: Test-Taking Tips
- Cómo preparar a su hijo para las pruebas
STANDARDIZED TESTING TIPS FOR PARENTS
The Night Before the Test
1. Make sure your child gets plenty of sleep the night before the test.
2. Plan ahead to avoid problems before the test so he/she doesn’t go to bed upset.
3. Tell your child you know tests can be hard, but that taking them gives him/her a
chance to show how well he/she can do.
4. Be encouraging — let your child know you think he/she will do well on the test.
5. Consider playing an educational game like Scrabble™ to help your child get into the testing spirit.
The Morning of the Test
1. Have your child get up early enough to avoid hurrying.
2. Make sure your child has a good breakfast on the morning of the test.
3. Have your child dress in something comfortable and familiar.
4. Be positive when you send your child to school.
5. Make sure he/she goes to school on the day of the test (make-ups are difficult to
After the Test
1. Reward your child for trying hard on the test.
2. Talk with your child about what was learned from the test.
3. Talk with your child about what can be done between now and the next time a test is given to improve their performance.
When you receive your child’s test results:
1. Don’t compare his/her performance to a sibling or a friend’s child.
2. Point out your child’s strong areas and how proud you are.
3. Talk about the areas of need and how the family can work together to improve those areas.
4. Discuss with your child’s counselor any questions you or your child have about thetest or the results.
What to do when you get the test results:
Food for thought
Yerkes-Dodson law suggests that elevated arousal levels can improve performance up to a certain point. Learn more about how this works and why sometimes a little bit of stress can actually help you perform your best. Source
Test Anxiety Reducers
Adopt positive thoughts. Negative thoughts about performance can affect test taking. Sian Beilock’s research at the University of Chicago found teaching kids to reframe negative feelings about test taking can impact test scores. So teach your child one of these techniques (and do teach in advance…not the morning of the test!)
Challenge each negative idea by finding evidence that it’s not always true.
Child: “I always do badly on tests.” You: “Practicing your flash cards boosted your spelling grade on Friday.”
Child: “I won’t remember anything.” You: “Eating a good breakfast seemed to sure helped improve your memory for your last math test.”
Reframe negative thoughts. Teach your child to erase “bad thoughts” with positive ones about test-taking. Instead of: “I hate taking tests.” Say: “I’m really psyched up for this test.
Shift stress views. Your child may get sweaty palms or a pounding heart before taking a test but remind him that he can get those same signs from enjoyable experiences like riding a tilt-a-whirl or watching a close baseball game.
Research shows that using a relaxation strategy can reduce test anxiety. Here are possibilities to teach your child a few weeks before the big test then do on the morning of the test:
Self-talk: Repeat a relaxing phrase silently such as: “It’s only a test.” “I don’t have to be perfect.” Or “I’ll worry later, but I’m going to focus on the test now.
Deep breathing: Take a three by three: Breathe in slowly to a count of three then exhale slowly to a count of three. Repeat the deep breathing strategy at least three times.
Visualize a calm scene: Close your eyes and imagine a calm peaceful place (a park, beach, tree house) that the child has experienced and brings a smile to his face.
Write your anxiety away. The morning of the test, encourage your child to take 5-10 minutes to write all his concerns about the test (“I’ll forget the answers…I’ll flunk….I won’t have enough time”) on paper.
A study published by Dr. Beilock and co-author, Gerardo Ramirez, found the writing technique used by a group of ninth graders prior to a biology final, worked both in the lab and in classrooms to reduce test anxiety. Encourage your child to use that strategy during another stressful situation such as at a sleepover or a family reunion. Model it yourself around your kids such as when your soufflé isn’t rising or the computer won’t boot.
Or make it a family affair: “Let’s practice those deep breaths at bedtime.” Practicing in real life will improve the chance the test-taking strategy will succeed. Besides, the more your child “sees” that strategy, the more likely he will use it.