April showers bring… state testing. You thought I was going to say May flowers, right? Wrong. Venture into any school during this time of year and you will likely see teachers and students preparing for, in the middle of, or recovering from state testing. Here are helpful tips to prepare for state testing.
State testing allows school districts to see how their students are performing compared to other districts in the state. It also provides school districts the opportunity to analyze their teacher’s effectiveness. Different states have different tests that are administered at different grade levels; however, these tips are applicable for most grade levels.
Before State Testing
- Identify when your student will be testing and what subject will be tested. If it is an area where your student struggles, consider speaking with their teacher to identify additional practice opportunities.
- Talk to your student about testing. Teachers and schools are working harder to relieve some of the pressure that state testing creates, but it also helps to hear it from home. As a teacher, I would recommend telling your student that state testing is important, but it doesn’t really measure all of the things that make them special.
- Provide your student with various books and magazines to read. Studies show that reading 20 minutes a night improves your student’s vocabulary which will help them on state testing.
- Voice concerns to your student’s teacher. If your student receives services as school, reach out to the teacher and see if those accommodations will be provided during state assessments.
- Talk to your student about test anxiety. Test anxiety is a real thing. Teach your student breathing strategies or positive imagery techniques.
During State Testing
- Get a good night’s sleep. Encourage (or force!) your student to get a good night’s sleep the night before testing. The process of testing can be exhausting enough, you don’t want your student falling asleep in the middle of the test.
- Eat breakfast. Ideally, this would be a nutritious breakfast, but I have noticed that breakfast is breakfast. Make sure your student has something in their belly as they head to school.
- Make sure your student is prepared. In our district, testing is done on iPads, in other districts testing is done with old fashioned paper and pencil. Check ahead of time and make sure your student is prepared to take the test.
After State Testing
- Celebrate! Celebrate your student after their state testing is over – ice cream cones, anyone?
- Review your student’s scores. After your student’s test scores come back, review them. If you have questions, ask your student’s teacher what they mean. Test scores can be helpful in advocating for your child if you feel they need additional supports at school.
State testing is one of the necessary evils of the education system. As a teacher, I understand the importance of state and standardized testing; however, I hate how it wears on my students. At the end of the day, what is most important is reminding your student that you love and support them. Hopefully some of these tips can help you and your student as you prepare to state testing season!