The Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) begins in April for students throughout the state and continues into May. Schools will begin testing shortly after students return from spring break.
Although standardized tests have become more controversial over the years, they can be an important measure of how our students are performing and the content they are mastering within each subject-area. Educators and schools across the state use this information to inform future curricular decisions to improve instruction and student achievement. It is also one measure for parents on their child’s academic achievement.
It is important to encourage your child to do his or her best. Testing can be very stressful on kids. Here are some tips to help your child be prepared for testing.
Mark testing days on the calendar
This will help reduce anxiety and help students prepare for a change in their daily routine.
Encourage your child to do their best
Maintaining a positive attitude and letting your child know that you have confidence that they can tackle the test has a big impact on student performance.
Double check the testing dates to ensure that your child will be in school on the testing days. It is understandable that illness and emergencies pop-up, however, try to avoid scheduling appointments or activities that could interfere with the school day. When students have to make-up missed testing, there is the potential that they will miss important instruction.
Make sure to feed your child breakfast the morning of testing. Sending your child off to school after a filling and healthy breakfast will give them the energy and focus they need and improve mood.
More than likely, students will have several break periods built into their testing session. Having a healthy snack will keep their energy up and keep them motivated.
Put them to bed early
We all know the benefits to a good night sleep. Being well-rested prior to a testing day can make a world of difference on student performance and focus.
Provide down time and fun activities after testing days
Teachers are encouraged to keep homework to a minimum during testing periods. Because testing can be long and stressful, it is nice to give your child a break at the end of the day. Consider planning activities that will give them a chance to socialize, talk, and move with their whole body. Physical activity can help reduce any stress, exhaustion, or frustration that child can often feel before, during, and after testing.
Overall, these tests are only one measure of what a child knows and what they have learned. Standardized tests can inform teachers and parents of the content students have learned, but do not demonstrate their creativity, talent, and unique learning style. As you talk with your child about testing, whether it be before, during, or after, remind them of their strengths and the reasons you believe they will do well on testing day.
In the end, our children will benefit greatly based on how we as parents help them prepare for testing. What are your tips for helping your kids get through their standardized test?