STATESBORO — Standardized testing is a rite of spring in schools around the country, and a Georgia Southern University education professor has tips on how parents can make sure students do their best without feeling stressed.
Carrie Lynn Bradley, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in Georgia Southern’s College of Education. Bradley said there are a number of things parents can do to help their children stay focused during testing.
Do your own homework:
• Learn as much as you can about the tests your students are taking – what is being assessed? When are the tests being given? What are the implications of the test results for your student?
• Ask for resources. Take part in school-sponsored activities that can provide parents with information on how to best support their children.
• Incorporate “test taking” behavior into everyday homework activities. Learn what your child is most concerned with about the test and provide them opportunities to practice at home.
• Discuss concerns with teachers and the supporting personnel at your child’s school such as school counselors, school psychologists, special education professionals, and others as appropriate to your child’s needs.
Practice and support learning at home:
• Set aside a distraction-free (or minimized) space in your home for your child to work on homework.
• Encourage your child to focus on homework for a specific length of uninterrupted time and then take a relaxing break.
• Read with your child and engage them in conversations about what they are learning at school.
• Point out opportunities for students to apply what they are learning in school to “real-life” situations.
• Model these behaviors with adult tasks that are similar (paying bills, preparing or learning something new for work, etc.).
• Ask your child about the tests and give them space to talk about their concerns.
• The best way for students to be ready for tests is to consistently attend to their work throughout the year … have these conversations and reinforce these supports year-long.
• Talk with your child about ways to relax when they are anxious – breathing strategies, relaxation techniques, etc. and practice these with your child (Check with your school counselor and teachers for age-specific tips).
• Make sure your child gets a good amount of sleep and a hearty breakfast for testing days – a hungry or cranky child is not going to be able to do their best.
• Encourage your child to do their best.
• If the results come back with less-than-hoped-for results, meet with the teachers and counselors to discuss alternative options and possible resources.
Remember – tests are one tool used in the assessment process; they are not the definition of all that your child is capable of academically. Provide your child with recognition for all of their accomplishments.