When Your Child Has to Take This Standardized Test
Standardized testing is coming again this spring and parents in Amarillo are wondering how they can help their children prepare for the STAAR tests. Third through eighth graders throughout Texas are preparing for this standardized test that evaluates their skills in math, science, reading, writing, and social studies. In public schools, some grades are required to achieve a passing grade to even graduate to the next grade. This creates undue stress on students and teachers. Some students find standardized tests overwhelming already, and the “high stakes” exam just heightens their fears. If your child is in this position, there are a few STAAR testing tips you can do to ease their anxiety and help them prepare for testing.
Discuss the role of tests. Explain that the purpose of education is to prepare oneself for life’s challenges. Make sure they understand that standardized tests only measure what they’ve learned so far, not their value, overall intelligence, or personal status.
Set realistic expectations. You know your child best. Set clear, attainable expectations that match their abilities and express those expectations to your son or daughter.
Explain STAAR Testing. Explain that the STAAR test isn’t very different than any other test. For instance, if they’ve been passing math tests all year, the Math STAAR test won’t be much different.
Try some sample tests. If your child is still anxious, you can find some of the official mandated testing sample questions here. Let your child try a few questions and see how they do. It will probably boost their confidence when they see that it is similar to what they’re used to seeing on regular tests.
Let your child play outside. Let your child burn off nervous energy. Running around the neighborhood with friends does wonders.
Get a full night’s sleep. Your child can’t concentrate for hours without enough rest.
Eat a healthy breakfast. Skip the sugary cereal and make something like eggs, which have plenty of protein for prolonged focus. Make sure you child drinks plenty of fluids and dice up some fruit. You want him/her fed, but not overstuffed and uncomfortable, where they can’t work.
Put an encouraging note in their lunch. Sometimes a simple “I love you,” or “You got this!” can make a world of difference to a kid halfway through the day. They may be getting tired or discouraged and seeing that gives them the energy to believe in themselves.
Reward your child. The STAAR test will take a toll on them, so schedule a reward for them, just for completing the test, whether it’s dinner at their favorite restaurant or tickets to a new movie.
If you are concerned standardized tests like the STAAR test do not recognize child’s value or intelligence, consider St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Amarillo. At St. Andrew’s Episcopal, our goal in academics is to empower your child to learn independently and prepare them for high school and beyond. We focus on a balanced education, providing core academic classes of Science, Math, Language Arts, and Social Studies, combined with a robust enrichment program of Fine Arts, Athletics, Religion, Spanish, and Technology. Our students strive to be academics, artists, athletes, dreamers and doers and are ready to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.