Outside of their regular studies, most students will participate in standardized testing during their academic careers. Some of the tests, including AP Exams and the SATs, are elective; others, such those administered in public schools as part of the No Child Left Behind Act, are mandated by the government.
Regardless of why a child is taking a standardized test, having a tutor is one of the best ways to help her excel.
How to help a child prepare for a standardized test
- First familiarize yourself with the test.
- Find the answers to the following questions; remember that you might have to share these answers with her parents.
- What is the test, and what does it measure?
- What is its format? (Essay? Multiple choice?)
- How will the student be scored? How will she be penalized for an incorrect answer? An unanswered question?
- Discuss these questions with the child's teacher
- When, exactly, will the test be administered?
- How is the school preparing?
- How are teachers preparing, and how are they asking parents to prepare?
- Based on what you learn from the teacher, you can then develop a program to enhance the current support system.
- Give the student a practice test early on to help pinpoint her weak areas.
- Tell her parents how you plan to strengthen these areas, but do not promise high test scores.
- Throughout your tutoring, schedule practice tests to evaluate which areas need the most attention. By timing these practice tests, your student will have a better idea of the clock and may be able to work more efficiently during the actual day of the exam.
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Tiffany Smith is the senior associate editor here at Care.com. She has written for All You, Time for Kids and the Boston Globe. And as a former babysitter, she knows a lot about fun games to play with kids. Getting them to eat their veggies -- that’s a different story! Follow her on Twitter at @tiffanyiswrite.