Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Test Taking For All

We will be administering the Stanford Achievement Tests (SAT10) next week to all 3rd, 5th and 6th grade students.  In preparation, here are some Test Taking Tips for Everyone.  We won't say, "Good luck" because everyone's worked really hard to get ready for these state assessments.  Instead, we'll wish everyone a good testing week and offer a cheerful, "Go get 'em Canary!"

Test Taking Tips for Students       
  1. Attitude is everything! Think of the test as a giant puzzle or your favorite video game, it might be tough, but you can do it! 
  2. Plan for the best! Make sure that you have a sharpened pencil, good eraser and working sharpener.  Having what you need ready gives you more time to concentrate without feeling stressed.
  3. During the test: Listen very carefully to the instructions and read the directions while your teacher is reading them out loud. 
  4. Do what you know first: Answer the questions you know first and go back to the harder ones when you’re done.  That way you don’t get stuck and lose time. 
  5. Be a problem solver! Reread the questions to make sure you understand them.  Eliminate the answers you know are wrong first and choose the best possible answer.
  6. Turn in a neat sheet! Erase your mistakes well and do not scribble on your answer sheet.  A machine scores the test and may not find your answer if your test sheet is sloppy.
  7. Don’t be in a hurry! If you get done early, check your work to make sure you haven’t made any mistakes or skipped any questions.  
Test Giving Tips for Teachers 

  1. Speak clearly and loud enough for all students to hear, especially when reading instructions.
  2. Don’t rush the test.  Determine when to go on and when to stop for the day by taking cues from your students.  If they look overwhelmed and frustrated, take a short break to stretch or breathe.
  3. Make sure that test papers are properly filled out and test answer sheets are clean before turning them in.
  4. Help your students understand that tests are just a way to find out how much they know and how to help them understand more.  Let them discuss their fears and encourage them by praising their abilities.
  5. Create a soothing environment during testing by playing soft music and making sure your room is clean and inviting. 
  6. Be calm.  Students sense your anxiety and will become worried too. 

Test Preparation for Parents

  1. Establish a bedtime routine: The average 6-12 year old needs at least 9 ½ hrs. of sleep in order to remain alert during the school day and be able to concentrate.
  2. Comfort is key: Send your child to school in his/her most comfortable clothes.  We will provide the needed No.2 pencils for students, but having an extra pencil, sharpener and eraser can’t hurt.
  3. Be a champion, eat a good breakfast: Hungry children can only focus on one thing: lunch/snack time.  If your child eats in the school cafeteria, don’t forget to send them to school with their breakfast or lunch money.  It is also very important to send healthy snacks with your child so that they are able to refuel during breaks.  Sugar or junk food only deplete energy.
  4. Come to school on time: Please send your child to school on time and make sure that he/she is present for the entire week of assessments.  The tests usually begin in the morning, and although make up dates are pre-scheduled, it can be more stressful for children to have to take their test when everyone else is already done or when they have to be placed in an alternate environment.
  5. Talk with your child about the test: You can help ease your child’s worries by letting him/her talk about how they are feeling.  Remind them that the tests are a measure of progress to help us plan better instruction, not something that will be used to grade or judge them.

  1. Talk with your child about their participation: Tell your child that he/she should take the test seriously and do the best job possible.  Tell your child that it is very important to pay attention to directions, read questions carefully, and double check all answers.  It is also important to fill out the bubbles and erase mistakes completely, especially on the SAT10.  Most students already know to eliminate wrong answers right away and concentrate on the rest of the possible choices when they are not sure about an answer, but it is good to remind them.
  2. Alternate Assessment:  If your child has an IEP, he/she may take the test with accommodations or receive an alternate form of evaluation.  Please see your child’s teacher or contact teacher for more information.

Finally, although these tests are of great importance, your child’s well-being is our priority.  The test will be over in a matter of weeks, but learning never ends, so let’s focus on doing the best job we can and follow this one last tip:

CELEBRATE!  Your child’s self-esteem should not be based on the results of any test, but rather on how loved, appreciated and supported he/she is.  Remember to praise and encourage your child daily and to send him/her to school with an enthusiastic “Go get ‘em Canary!”  

Book Brag!
Here's a great story to read with your child about how adults can sometimes take tests way too seriously and how all we need is to prepare, believe in ourselves and shine!  Ask your local or school librarian for this book. 

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