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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, January 12, 2006

Help child do best on tests

By Gail Kono

No matter what grade your child is in, he or she must regularly take important tests to measure individual achievement.

Besides determining the grades your child receives, these tests often are the standardized achievement tests used to measure the entire school's achievement.

These high-pressure tests have a lot riding on the results, and your child may be feeling nervous about his or her ability to do well.

There are several things you can do to help your child prepare for these tests and allay fears about taking them. Here are some tips:

Ask questions about the tests. Ask both your child and his teacher.

To have a full understanding of the material the test is covering and how important it is, you might want to ask the following questions:

  • How does the material my child learns in class relate to what is covered on tests?

  • In what other ways does the school and my child's teacher measure how well my child is learning?

  • How much time does my child spend taking tests during the school year?

  • Does my child's performance on state-required achievement tests match his performance in the classroom?

  • How does the school and my child's teacher use test results?

    Prepare for the test. Make sure your child has a good night's rest before the test and eats a hearty breakfast the morning of the test.

    Encourage your child's good attendance. Being at school every day ensures that your child is not missing out on crucial classroom instruction that will help her grasp concepts she will be tested on.

    In addition, good attendance can help her become more enthusiastic about learning.

    Take an interest in the subjects being tested. Talk with your child about the things he is studying in school and what he is good at and what subjects he doesn't like.

    Make sure that your child feels comfortable asking you for help and that you are supportive of his efforts to master new material.

    Don't judge your child's abilities on test scores. Encourage your child to do her best on tests, but don't pass judgment if she doesn't do well.

    Tests measure only certain areas of knowledge and aren't accurate measures of your child's total abilities.

    If she does poorly on a test, support efforts to continue to learn the material and master it even after the test.

    This column is provided through the Hawai'i State Teachers Association. Gail Kono is a teacher at Kalei'opu'u Elementary School in Waipahu.