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How to Understand Your Child’s School Test Measurements
What state or national tests will my child take?
Each state’s Department of Education decides which tests will be administered in that state, although the “No Child Left Behind” law is a mandatory federal law. Now, states must comply with Common Core Standards (CSS) which require certain subject levels to be taught and then attained at prescribed grade levels.
Students regularly receive several tests at school. Not all tests are the same. Some are formal and nationally standardized and measure content knowledge with thousands of students taking these assessments in all geographies. These are usually administered at the end or beginning of the school year.
Reading and Mathematics Nationally standardized academic achievement tests are administered annually from grades 3 through 8 and at least once from grades 10 through 12 in all fifty states. Students are tested in science at least once from grades 3 to 5.
Many states offer additional testing in social sciences, writing, and language arts at various levels. It will be up to you as a parent to find out what tests are given and when; and where you can complete by getting the necessary tests for your child.
What are formative tests? Other tests are informal measures of learned material such as daily written assignments in class, a spelling test, or simple observations and checklists. These are ongoing on a regular basis to assess progress in learning. These informal measures are said to be criteria-based and formative. Here’s how a parent can get more involved in helping their child:
How parents can get involved in their child’s class:
1. Contact your child’s teacher at school.
2. Call the school office to request an appointment with the teacher.
3. Visit the classroom at the beginning of the year in September and ask questions regarding your child’s daily homework and homework.
4. Ask to see samples of your child’s work or ask him to bring home the daily tasks he has done in class.
5. Ask when your state-mandated formative math and reading tests begin, how many will be given in the year, and what information is and will be available to your child.
6. Some intermediate tests may be called “testlets”. The purpose of the testlets is to guide future instruction to close the gaps between current performance levels and target skill levels.
7. Although each State will design its own testing schedules, in general there will be two to four intermediate tests during the months of August, October, December and February, and two final summative tests in February, March and/or april. Ask when these tests are given at your school.
8. The first August intermediate tests for pupils in grades 3 to 8 will show scores in the areas of basic skills in reading and mathematics. Generally, all students start with the same test level and receive comparable scores. Then, these test scores can be divided into three definitive ability areas: (difficult, medium, and easy).
9. Next, ask the teacher what test indicators are given and where your child is in the criteria levels that have been assigned.
10. Ask to see intermediate test results to define strengths and weaknesses, and also to help guide your student at home through weak points with e-learning apps.
11. Indicate that you would like to communicate with the teacher after each of the testlet deadlines so that your child can show progress in closing the gaps and progressing in the defined ability/achievement levels.
12. Ask, what can I do next to support and safeguard class work, and when can I visit and help in class next?
Now you have started to understand how your child’s classroom work is measured and evaluated. This simple checklist is part of assessing your child’s learning styles, strengths, weaknesses and personal interests. Once you’ve determined these test and measurement categories, you can begin to identify the right resources to help your child learn in just about any topic imaginable.
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