As standardized testing quickly approaches, many parents, students, and teachers are feeling the stress. For all of those students out there, I have a message for you from your teachers:
We know that this year has been different. Social distancing, masks, temperature checks, quarantines, hybrid and online classes have all made this year more challenging than almost any other in recent history. We have all worked hard to overcome these challenges and ensure that learning continued. While Covid has changed how and where learning took place, it seems that standardized testing will look very much the same as in years past. This may worry you a bit. I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
I want you to know that you are more than a test grade. This test is simply meant to show teachers and administrators what you learned this year. It does NOT determine your value as a person. It is simply a snapshot of how you are academically functioning at a particular time on a particular day. You and your teachers have worked hard this year to learn all that you should know. Remember to take your time and to double check that you have answered every question. Don’t spend a ton of time on one question. If you get stuck, skip the question and come back to it. If you get nervous, stop and take a few deep breaths. You are prepared. You can do this. All that we, your teachers, ask is that you try your hardest to do your very best. Now go out and kick some major test butt like the rockstar that you are.
As parents, you yourself may be feeling anxious about upcoming standardized tests and what they mean for your child. What can you do to help your child be prepared for the test? Here are a few things that you can do to help your child succeed.
Encourage a positive attitude
As in most situations, your child will take their cues from you. Speak about standardized testing in a positive way. Don’t complain or add pressure about the test. Instead, reassure your child that you are proud of them and the effort that they put forth. Give them pep talks and help to build their confidence before the test. You might even consider writing an encouraging note to your child to read the morning of the test.
Get a good night’s sleep
Any parent who has lived through the newborn phase knows just how hard it is to think when you are sleep deprived. Make sure your kiddo goes to bed early in the days leading up to the test and during testing week. This will give your child the stamina that he/she needs to do their best on the test.
Prepare or pick up a good breakfast
Each morning of testing week, make sure that your child eats a good breakfast. This will give your child the fuel that he/she will need to concentrate for long periods of time. Make sure that their breakfast has a good amount of protein so they will feel fuller for a longer amount of time.
Get to school on time!
Set your alarm, set multiple alarms, borrow your neighbor’s rooster — do whatever it is that you have to do to make sure that you and your child wake up early and get to school on time. If your child arrives late for the test, it could add stress and negatively affect his/her performance. Some school districts require tardy students to stay in the front office until everyone in the class has completed that section of the test to avoid interruptions to the testing session. This may mean that your child has to wait for an hour or more! I would also recommend that you don’t schedule any doctor visits or other appointments the week of testing.
Plan fun and relaxing activities
After a long day of testing and sitting still, your child will be ready to just play and be a kid. Let your kid play outside and do other things that they enjoy. If they are tired, let them “veg out” and lie like broccoli – whatever they need to do to relax.
Finally, remember that no standardized test or grading system is perfect. It is just one part of your child’s education and should be treated as such. Help your child to keep a healthy perspective of the test, but encourage him to do his best on the test as with all schoolwork. With your support and involvement, you will give your child the tools to succeed.