Parents are teachers, too.
Unlike traditional tests, state testing asks students to apply their skills and knowledge to real-life situations. This means learning in the home is as important as what happens in school. Here are some tips for building your child’s skills, every day.
- Ensure your child reads (or read to your child) a variety of things at least15-20 minutes each day. Books, newspapers and magazines are great.
- Show your child that you value education. Help your child set goals and create a positive plan for the future.
- Listen to your child. Talk about schoolwork, grades and future plans often.
- Encourage your child to speak and write in complete sentences. Create good habits that last a lifetime.
- Ask your child to describe events and ideas in detail. Support main ideas with facts.
- Urge your child to write letters to family and friends, then re-read those letters aloud. Practice reading and revising written work.
- Review homework and completed assignments. Challenge your child to correct any errors.
- On trips to stores, figure out how many miles you traveled or which products are a better value. Older students can compare the costs of attending different colleges or the costs of buying items with credit.
- If your child has significant cognitive disabilities, provide opportunities to practice Individualized Education Program (IEP) skills at home and in the community.
Keep it all in perspective
Students and parents can feel pressured by MSP, HSPE and EOC testing, but the test shouldn’t be the center of attention. It’s the core skills and knowledge that matter most. The challenge is to find a healthy balance between concern and worry, and to keep the state tests in perspective.
Help your child take the assessments seriously, but try not to panic.
The state test offers a snapshot of your child’s skills at one moment in time. All anyone can ask is for students to attend school each day and try their best.
Think about your child’s test day routine in advance.
Changing your child’s routine before a test can be more upsetting than helpful. Some children need more sleep or a good breakfast to do their best. For others, extra attention only adds stress. You know your child best.
Allow time for your child to discuss the testing experience.
Give your child the chance to talk about tests after school. Your child may or may not want to share and that’s OK. Offer encouragement and support without focusing too much on specific questions and answers.