Whether you are for or against standardized testing many states legally require standardized testing during various grades throughout their life. For more information Click here to see each state Education and Homeschooling standards
In many states, testing starts as early as 2nd or 3rd grade. Therefore preparing for these tests can alter your curriculum to meet the requirements of passing standardized testing standards. Going through this process can be stressful and frustrating when trying to provide a comprehensive curriculum for your child, instead of focusing on one or two subjects for an extended period of time.
If you live in a state that requires your child to partake in standardized testings here are some great tips and resources to blend into your curriculum.
Why Are We Taking a Test?
You may or may not test in your curriculum and that is your decision as to your homeschooler’s educator. Standardized testing almost always serves the purpose of assessing one’s skills. If your homeschooler has not had much experience with tests, it may be important for them to understand why they will need to take a test, what is the purpose, etc. Understanding the significance of the test they will be taking may help them better adjust to the task at hand.
Create a Pleasant Environment
Depending on which standardized test your homeschooler will be taking, you may have the opportunity to administer the test outside of a school or testing facility. You might remember the stress of having to take a test in an unfamiliar setting with a proctor and thinking all eyes are on you. Why put your child through that experience? Being in a familiar environment does take a lot of stress off an already stressful event. Consider age, comfort, anxiety, and legal requirements, and tailor your space to prevent distractions and motivate thoughtfulness.
Decide on Which Test
Depending on your state’s regulations, you may have the option of picking the test your homeschooler will take. Some tests do not have a time limit, if you know time may be a factor for your homeschooler this is the best option. The daunting pressure of a timed test sends stress levels through the roof. Even students who are confident in the material they will be tested on may tense up or freeze needing more time to process information.
If your state does not offer a test with “no time limit”, then you may need to prepare using a timer.
Start practicing with your homeschooler taking sections of test material into quizzes or practice taking the whole test in one sitting. Knowing where your homeschooler stands on timing and pacing will help you understand how to modify their habits.
Use Previous Tests As a Guide
Become familiar with the subject matter being covered in the test. Every year standardized tests are reviewed and modified. Obtain tests from previous years and ensure you have covered the most current material to prevent surprises to your homeschooler. Refrain from using tests that are more than five years old which may contain outdated questions.
Additional Items to Review
Using Scantrons – Review how to fill out a scantron with your homeschooler, if it is applicable. It may seem obvious, but errors happen quite often, not to mention test jitters can take over.
Using Scrap Paper – Some people can figure out everything in their head without needing to work out their problem on paper. However, it is always good to use scrap paper to help work out a problem, even doodling if it helps them.
Process of Elimination – From experience, we know how tricky some questions can be, teaching students the process of elimination will help them quickly remove incorrect answers and focus on the correct answer.