Achievement tests measure what children know in particular subject areas. They DO NOT measure your child's intelligence or ability to learn.
- At Maria Regina we administer the IOWA test of Basic Skills in the fall to grades 2-7. There are 3 major parts of the test: READING, LANGUAGE ARTS and MATH.
- The READING test has two subtests: Vocabulary and Reading Comprehension.
- The LANGUAGE ARTS test has 4 subtests: Spelling, Capitalization, Punctuation, Usage & Expression.
- The MATH test has two subtests: Concepts/Estimate and Problems/Data Interpretation.
- The results of the IOWA testing is standardized or normed. This means that your child's test results are compared with those of a specific group who have taken the test, usually at the same age or grade level. These tests measure what children around the country are learning.
- PREPARING ALL YEAR ROUND: Perhaps the most valuable way you can help your child prepare for standardized achievement tests is by providing enriching experiences. Keep in mind also that test results for younger children are not as reliable as for older students. If a child is hungry, tired, sick or upset, this may result in a poor test score. Here are some tips on how you can help your child do his or her best on standardized tests.
- READ ALOUD WITH YOUR CHILD: Reading aloud helps develop vocabulary and fosters a positive attitude toward reading. Reading together is one of the most effective ways you can help your child succeed in school.
- SHARE EXPERIENCES: Baking cookies together, planting a garden, or making a map of your neighborhood are all examples of activities that help build skills that are measure on the tests such as sequencing and following directions.
- HELP YOUR CHILD KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT: Read and discuss with your child the test taking tips in my resources section. Your child can prepare by practicing these strategies throughout the school year.
- HELP YOUR CHILD WITH HIS OR HER REGULAR SCHOOL ASSIGNMENTS: Set up a quiet study area for homework. Supply this area with pencils, paper, markers, a calculator, a ruler, a dictionary, scissors, glue and so on. Check your child's homework and offer to help if he or she gets stuck. But remember...it's your child's homework, not yours. If you help too much, your child will NOT benefit from the activity.
- KEEP IN REGULAR CONTACT WITH YOUR CHILD'S TEACHER: Attend parent-teacher conferences, school functions, parent association meetings and school board meetings. This will help you get to know the educators in your school and the families of your child's classmates.
- LEARN TO USE COMPUTERS AS AN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCE: If you do not have a computer and internet access at home, try your local library.
- GETTING READY FOR THE BIG DAY: There are lots of things you can do on or immediately before test day to improve your child's chances of testing success. What's more, these strategies will help your child prepare for school tests too and promote general study skills that can last a lifetime.
- Provide a good breakfast on test day. Instead of sugar cereal, which provides immediate but not long-term energy, have your child eat a breakfast with protein or complex carbohydrates such as a egg, whole grain cereal or toast, or a banana-yogurt shake.
- Promote a good night's sleep. A good night's sleep before the test is essential. Try not to overstress the importance of the test. This may cause your child to lose sleep because of anxiety. Doing some exercise after school and having a quiet evening routine will help your child sleep well the night before a test.
- Assure you child that he or she is not expected to know ALL of the answers on the test. Explain that other children in higher grades may take the same test, and that the test may measure things your child hasn't yet learned in school. Help your child understand that you expect him or her to put forth a good effort--and that this is enough. Your child should NOT try to cram for these tests. Also avoid bribes or threats; these put undue pressure on children and may interfere with their best performance.
- Keep the mood light and offer encouragement. To provide a break on test days, do something fun and special after school--take a walk around the neighborhood, play a game, read a favorite book, or prepare a special snack together. These activities keep your child's mood light--even if the testing sessions have been difficult--and show how much you appreciate your child's effort.
Created on 7/20/2009 - Last updated on 10/6/2011