Why Testing Matters to Your Child’s EducationApril 14, 2015
By Maureen Powers
It’s spring and your child’s school is gearing up for standardized state assessments. Children are stressed, teachers are tense, and everyone just wants to get through testing season. Is all this anxiety necessary? Yes! Schools and teachers have a lot to lose if standardized assessments are not taken seriously.
By law, every state in the U.S. must administer state achievement tests to measure what students know and are able to do. The operating budgets in many school districts are often determined by the results of student growth on state standardized assessments. Many public schools have adopted performance pay, which gives teachers additional money if their students score well. In short, more money in schools means your children will be more likely to receive a better education.
Now that you know why these tests are so important to your child’s overall education, what can you do to help?
- Make sure your child is in attendance all days of testing. Many schools are penalized for poor student attendance, which will affect funding.
- Encourage your child to do his or her best and express your confidence in him or her. Anxiety and fear of failure can affect test performance.
- With your child, explore the test questions for the standardized assessment in your state well in advance of the test. Cramming is not a good strategy, as these tests measure knowledge gained over time, not simple facts.
- The assessment results are often available only after school is out for summer vacation. Make an appointment to speak with your child’s teacher at the beginning of the new school year to go over the results of the standardized assessments so you know your student’s strengths and opportunities for improvement and you are in a better position to advocate for him or her.
- Visit the US Department of Education website for additional ways to help your child succeed.
By knowing why these standardized tests matter and how they can impact your child’s education, you can hopefully use these tips to help your child study and perform to the best of his or her ability.