I just need a little encouragement today.
I'm giving standardized tests for 1st and 4th grades. I'm curious to know if you follow the instructions to the "T". I have been, by not helping with any part of the work except pronouncing a word, and by sticking with the allotted time for each section.
This is the first time we've had ANY kind of test other than spelling. So, I expected them to be slow and have some wrong answers. But, clearly we haven't done enough math (still struggling with that singapore-thanks for previous suggestions) and reading comprehension up to this point. Also, the time allowed hasn't been enough to finish some of the sections.
How have you dealt with problems on the test that have not been covered in your studies as of yet? I assume you still expect them to try to answer them and such, but in your minds do you sort of expect a lower grade on that subject until next year (or the next testing year?) Would you allow more time? Define a word? make any suggestions to help decifer the worded problem? Do you verballize any differences in this sort of testing versus other tests you routinely do?
Our homeschool group 'grades' these for us and we were told that since it's not mandatory by our state we don't have to turn them back in if we don't want to. I'd like to have them graded to see where we fall. The grades will be kept in their files and only shared when we get to the point of needing a transcript or if we transferred to another homeschool group within our state. Do you think a low score (or whatever it's called) would be harmful on a transcript in elementary level.
Sorry, just needing sound advice.
<Hugs> as you sound so worried that I can't quite tell what you're worrying about
Here's one thread to read for comfort, showing many MFW users survive testing: [above]
Here are some of the things I *think* I hear you saying:
1. You gave the test yourself & you feel sure they will fail in some spots because of time, wording, etc.?
First of all, the tests are designed so that a few questions will be "too hard" for most kids, and so that the time allotted will be fully needed by most kids. I wouldn't worry until you get the scores back, because you don't know how this test was standardized.
2. You're not sure how far you should go outside of the instructions when you continue to test your kids tomorrow?
Our tests are given by a local school teacher in a group setting, and are quite formal. However, when I've helped with the little ones, I've changed a word or two (e.g. Minnesotans don't use the word "interstate" but instead call it a "freeway"), or adapted the time for potty breaks etc, even though I know the schools wouldn't. However, I try to feel we're following the rules in large part because otherwise the test would be useless to me.
3. Some areas of the test you know that you've never taught your student?
We use the Iowa Basics & that test is extremely general; I would even say it's just a test of math & reading skills. Other tests I've heard get so specific that one year a question asked who Rosa Parks was (the year she died). So one tactic is to choose a more general skill test. Another tactic is to get a test prep book. That's what public school teachers often basically do, using materials from the testing center or their school. I looked through one with my son this year, just orally discussing the types of questions he might see now that he's in 7th grade, & their testing hints. The first year he tested (3rd grade), I had him do a page in a test prep book because he would have to fill in those bubbles on a separate page. So you can use a test prep book for just one or two things, or as a brief overview, without getting bogged down in it. But this is where your "verbalizing any differences" would come in -- preparing them before you start the test. If you're in the middle of the test now, I might stop & talk a bit before you resume testing. But I wouldn't coach them before a specific set of questions.
4. You feel sure math is a weakness, due to problems this year in math & due to what you've seen on the testing?
Math on our test is two separate things -- math understanding & math computation. Singapore students seem to fly through the understanding parts, and not get scared by the word problems at all. However, I believe computation will totally depend on how much you've stressed the memorization of math facts. That's totally outside of Singapore.
5. You are keeping the scores private & wonder whether they will hurt your child later (if the scores are poor)?
I also choose not to share my son's scores with our school district. And I don't think they will matter to anyone. In my experience, elementary kids who move to a new school are just plugged into their age-level classroom. As a Girl Scout leader for many years, I worked with a few girls whose parents had issues and moved every few months. They were far behind and still just plugged into their grade level. If the teacher then noticed problems, they would get an evaluation and possibly be put on an IEP (their own learning plan) but not put in a different grade. I wouldn't think you'd need to show the scores unless someone was giving you a hard time. If so, the only thing that would look bad would be no improvement from year to year. If your student starts out poorly but makes huge strides, that looks great!
Does any of this relate to your concerns?
Breathe deeply, rest well, and have a good breakfast, as they say