Preparing For State Testing

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Standardized testing plays a major role in the public school system in the United States. Whatever your position on the use or frequency of testing may be, you can support your children as they prepare for standardized testing.

Plan

Start preparing for the test in advance and teach your child how to pace and avoid cramming before the exam. Talk to your children about what to expect during the test, including when breaks will come and whom to approach if they have questions. Also, discuss the purpose for these tests. On the day of the test, make sure your child is well rested and has a healthy breakfast.

Communicate with the teacher

Reach out to your child’s teacher to assess your child’s understanding of the material. If the teacher reports any issues, find out what resources are available to help. Ask what you can be doing at home to help support your child.

Read with your child

Expand your child’s vocabulary by reading with your child daily. Try to read both fiction and nonfiction. Ask questions to assess comprehension.

Strategies for anxiety

Teach your child deep breathing exercises (breathe in from your nose, hold, breathe out from your mouth, hold). Your brain believes what you tell it. Encourage positive self-talk like “I have studied hard and am ready to do my best.” Have children close their eyes and imagine feeling confident and competent at test time. While some general nerves around a test can be motivating, we do not want children to develop test anxiety.

Model

Avoid saying things that send the message that you measure your child’s worth based on performance. Be mindful of your words or actions that how your children feel. Praise aspects for which they have control, (how much time they spend studying, getting extra help) versus those for which they have no control, (how smart they are; how well they will do).

Conclusions

If you have additional questions about the testing process or concerns that any difficulty your child has with testing may be the result of a learning or language difficulty reach out to your child’s teacher.

Graziella Simonetti is a parent educator for EAC Network’s Long Island Parenting Institute and works as an early childhood social worker for the New York City Department of Education. She holds an advanced certificate in parent education from Adelphi University and is a NYSPEP credentialed parenting educator. Simonetti is a former kindergarten teacher.

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