You may have been hearing a lot about standardized testing in the classroom recently. Some say standardized testing can be a beneficial tool to objectively measure the performance of both students and teachers, while others argue that standardized testing leads to “teaching for the test” and does not leave enough room for more creative and beneficial ways of teaching. Whether or not your child has begun taking standardized tests, it’s a good idea to learn as much about them as you can. Here are some important things every parent should know.
- Find out what kind of tests your child will be taking and what they will be used to measure. For example, some tests are designed to tell you how proficient your child is in certain areas, while others are used to measure your child’s performance against other children. It’s also important to find out how your child’s test scores will be used. Sometimes scores can be used to place children in gifted classes, and sometimes the tests can be used as a way to see if the child will be allowed to move to the next grade. You’ll want to know what your child is dealing with and what is at stake.
- Find out when your child will be tested. Though there are federal guidelines in place, different school districts will have different starting points for testing. Find out when your child will be tested – and how often – so you can make sure he or she will be sufficiently prepared. In addition to this, you may want to find out how much classroom time your child’s teacher will be devoting to test preparation.
- If you are worried about your child and standardized tests, make some time to talk with his or her teacher. They will know your child and his or her abilities well and can give you advice on your child’s performance. You can find out your child’s strongest and weakest areas and prepare for the tests accordingly. You can also discuss with your child’s teacher other forms of assessment. While the tests are important, it’s also important to remember they are not the only forms of measurement likely being used in your child’s school.
- Remember you have the option to opt out. Some parents are unaware of this, but the ultimate decision does lie with parents, in terms of standardized testing. While you do have this option, it would be best to discuss this with people at your child’s school so you can make sure you fully understand the situation and how to best handle it.
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