Parents' Guide to Helping Children Succeed on Standardized Tests

Parents' Guide to Helping Children Succeed on Standardized Tests
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We are in the age of a “test-focused” education system. No one knows quite how we got there, but it appears we are there to stay for the foreseeable future. Efficient educators teach the content in such a way that students will naturally do well on state and federally mandated tests. But even in the best scenarios, it still comes back to “the test.”

Helping Your Child Prepare

You cannot take the test for your kids, and often there are no clues about what will be on the test. How will you help your child prepare, both mentally and physically for each standardized assessment that comes along?

While there is no cookie cutter solution, here are a few rules of thumb that you can go by to better prepare your child for the testing process and increase their chances for success:

  1. Remember that brain chemistry rules. Research shows certain foods help the brain function better during tests. Some examples are peanut butter, spinach, whole grains and fish. Multivitamins help, but the best thing you can do is ensure your child is eating properly the day before the test and on a regular basis.
  2. Rest is also important. Schools often send home information sheets prior to testing dates emphasizing the need for rest before the exams. This is true, as it helps the body and mind rejuvenate so kids can think clearly during the test. Make sure your child goes to bed at a decent hour and encourage a regular sleep schedule when possible.
  3. Practice test released items. Many states release benchmark test items that have been retired or are no longer used. Schools will often allow students to practice these at school and sometimes bring them home. When they do, this is an excellent opportunity for you to help them learn how to master the skills they struggle with and prepare them for the kinds of questions they will have on the test.
  4. Apply skills to the real world. The more you can relate the skills on which they are tested to real world situations, the more you will be able to teach kids to transfer their knowledge. This results in education they can use and will improve test scores, as well.
  5. Analyze past test results. By looking at detailed assessments showing where your child excels and where he struggles, you can help your child prepare for the next test . Scrutinize specific test items to determine areas of weakness so you can help your child improve on skills, not just pass the test.

These tips that may help improve your child’s test scores on standardized tests, especially if used in conjunction with each other. Granted, many intelligent people are not good test-takers. However, testing still remains an important component of succeeding in life. Above all, remind your kids that while we are not huge fans of the testing process, testing and assessment are something they should strive to improve upon throughout life, not just during school years. Virtually any career they choose will require some sort of assessment to and it is a skill that will follow them throughout their lives.

Resources for Further Study

10 Foods to Boost Your Brainpower

Pros and Cons of Standardized Testing

What’s So Bad about Teaching to the Test?

This post is part of the series: Helping Your Child Succeed in School

From standardized testing to overcrowded classrooms, kids experience a number of common struggles in school. As a parent, you want to provide an environment that fosters success, learning and security. These articles from a former educator provide tools to help you help your child.

  1. How Parents Can Help Kids Meet the New Standards at Home
  2. Tips for Performing Better on Standardized Tests
  3. 10 Things Parents Can Do to Help Kids Increase Achievement
  4. Teaching Kids to Transfer Learning to Real World Situations