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#1 of 13 Old 04-03-2012, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My son has a standardized test coming up in May.  I purchased the Spectrum test prep book containing the Language Arts and Math.   Is this a good prep booklet to get him familiar with the format enough to make him feel less anxiety about the test, that he'll get used to completing this kind of work, and do they cover the standards well? 

 

He is doing alright in his school work but he makes silly mistakes that when he looks at again laughs at. On his test last Friday he had to write the correct adjective in the sentence according to the picture.  There was a mug with steam coming off with a person holding it, as if they were going to drink hot coffee, cocoa or something.  He chose salty for the adjective.  When I asked him what's the picture about he told me the man is drinking hot coffee. I asked him why he wrote salty there and he just said he didn't think it mattered which adjective he chose to use. He does these things on his tests often. I have tried to explain that he has to choose an appropriate answer and he asked me what's wrong if he wants to describe it as salty, how do we know it's not?    Anyone have this problem on their school work etc.?


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#2 of 13 Old 04-03-2012, 11:57 AM
 
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what test is he taking?


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#3 of 13 Old 04-03-2012, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's the stanford 10 for school, First grade.  They don't start the State testing until 3rd grade here but his school starts testing in First. 


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#4 of 13 Old 04-03-2012, 12:33 PM
 
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I wouldn't put any pressure on him to perform. :) I don't even understand why you would buy him a prep book for it. Chill out and stop caring how he performs on it. lol. 


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#5 of 13 Old 04-03-2012, 01:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonMom View Post

I wouldn't put any pressure on him to perform. :) I don't even understand why you would buy him a prep book for it. Chill out and stop caring how he performs on it. lol. 


I admit my first thoughts were along these lines - that test prep really isn't necessary, especially at that age. The OP mentions anxiety though. If it helps him to be familiar with the format of the test and the questions, then I can see giving him a little practice. I would be very careful about how it was done though, to avoid unintentionally increasing any anxiety about testing. For example, I wouldn't place any emphasis on his scores or whether he got the answers "wrong". I'd focus on helping him to understand how to read the questions and how to work through an answer. 

 

Is the school testing in 1st grade in order to get the students familiar with test-taking before the state tests in 3rd grade? If so, hopefully the teachers are taking a low-key approach with it. That may be all the test prep he needs. Unless the first grade results are being used for program eligibility or streaming, I wouldn't worry at this stage.  

 

 

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#6 of 13 Old 04-03-2012, 01:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonMom View Post

I wouldn't put any pressure on him to perform. :) I don't even understand why you would buy him a prep book for it. Chill out and stop caring how he performs on it. lol. 



Mostly this.

 

Test scores are seen by the next year's teachers at a minimum, so it will color their expectations of the child.  We have been well served by teachers expecting high performance from my child.  It has also been used in our district for gifted placement eyesroll.gif

 

Teach how to fill in the bubble sheet.  Compare the number of the question to the number next to the bubble. 

 

Teach how to check your work and keep track of which ones you've checked, which are uncertain.

 

And Stop. 

 

Do no more.  Get your kid to bed on time the night before, feed him a good breakfast, and send him off with a "just do your best, and don't worry if you don't know it all -- you're not expected to!" (even if that's not entirely true...)

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#7 of 13 Old 04-04-2012, 08:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your helpful input.  I am taking a low key approach and not stressing too much with him.  What I want from him is to learn how to move forward, make sure he answers all the questions (he tends to skips questions), and check over.  I'm not concerned with the answers as such but rather that he completes it and to build his confidence instead of feeling overwhelmed by seeing the questions. 

 

The Principal of this school uses this as part of the determining factor if they pass and go on to second grade. The school is not accredited so I think they worry about student performance and creating a track record.  

 

I definitely don't want to increase his anxiety. 

 

thanks!

 

 


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#8 of 13 Old 04-04-2012, 08:56 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by aishamama View Post

 

The Principal of this school uses this as part of the determining factor if they pass and go on to second grade. The school is not accredited so I think they worry about student performance and creating a track record.

 

Do you have any reason to be concerned about whether or not he will pass 1st grade? Because if you don't have a reason to, then don't be concerned. If you do, then contact the teacher and schedule a meeting with her to discuss it.

 

I have a DD with an anxiety disorder and she can pick things up like you would not believe. I know that *for her,* if I had any feelings of worry over the test, she would totally pick it and get freaked out.

 

So my advice is to do what you need to do to get your head into a space of really not caring how he does on the test.


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#9 of 13 Old 04-05-2012, 07:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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He knows the material, but is not a good test taker. The issue usually is that he makes careless mistakes, doesn't answer questions, or decides to answer it how he wants to etc. He's extremely slow in finishing work, so he has to work on his speed somewhat. Things like that. On his homework the other day there were only 4 questions divided into 2 columns. He did the questions in the left column but did not do the ones in the right column. I always ask him to be careful to answer all of the questions. He is always, oh I didn't see them or OOPs.  On a few of his tests, it didn't occur to him that he has to look at the picture then answer the question about the picture.  So he just bubbled in whatever he wanted. I had a meeting with his teacher to be sure to give him full directions and tell him the questions belong with the pictures and make sure everything is clear.  

 

So the whole point of the booklet is to show him and make sure beforehand that he knows common sets of instructions and that sometimes he'll have to look at a picture and answer the question. Sometimes he'll have to read a few sentences then answer several questions; I'd like to make sure he knows how to identify which questions belong with which passage or picture.  I wanted him to know what the stop sign means and the go arrow means.  I don't have a lot of confidence in his teacher in these regards.  And likewise, I wanted to make sure he was taught what he was supposed to know to be able to answer the questions. I don't feel the need to reteach him though; he knows the answers if he focuses and reads through. 

 

And in the private schools we've looked at they look at test scores and grades. So I don't want him to mess up this test because he had no idea this picture belongs with x question etc.  He genuinely has had trouble with these simple things.  I remember the first spelling test he ever took he decided to write the words on his homework folder instead of the paper. He was never told he was supposed to write it anywhere. He'd never taken a test. He'd never ever taken a spelling test. How would he know that if the teacher didn't tell him specifically since he hadn't gone to Kindergarten at their school last year or anywhere?  I think she wasn't very clear and due to things like this over the past 7 months I feel like these things have to be also gone over at home. 


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#10 of 13 Old 04-05-2012, 03:26 PM
 
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I'm just saying..it sounds like pressure. Hopefully you can do this in a way where there's no pressure, but it seems doubtful. It seems you're worried about him passing for very specific reasons, such as doing well to get into private school. IMHO, as a parent, your goal shouldn't be for him to perform well on a test, but to want your child to grasp concepts and work through problems. You seem to be implying his teacher's failing him, and he's just making silly mistakes, when in all honesty it sounds like he is not understanding some concepts. You should be helping him with that instead of making excuses and worrying about private school. 


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#11 of 13 Old 04-05-2012, 04:55 PM
 
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I really see SimonMom's point. It sounds like pressure to me too. And I also agree that your ds's test-taking troubles sound like more than lack of experience and direction.

 

My kids had never been to school, never taken a test, rarely done a worksheet, never had quizzes or assignments. They were completely unschooled, except that in 3rd grade they were suddenly subjected to nationally normed standardized testing. Admittedly they were a bit older (8 or almost 8), but they'd had no school-like experience at all, and the things you describe your ds struggling with were straightforward for them at that stage. They just walked in, did a variety of bubble-filling, short answer, matching, computer-based and diagrammatic recording of test answers. I don't think they're abnormal not to have trouble with this. We know another family of unschoolers who did the same testing at age 8, and they seemed to do fine too. I mean, the kids were give the usual precautionary reminder of "Do not write answers in the Test Booklet. All your answers should go in the Answer Booklet." But that was all.

 

If your ds is not getting the logic of a worksheet's sequential layout, or not understanding that he's doing the testing work in order for other people to grade his answers and evaluate them for correctness and logical good sense, I would think that it's more than that he just hasn't had things explained. He's obviously very bright, but I think this could be another indication of some sort of learning issue, a cognitive stumbling block of some sort that's currently getting in the way of him fully accessing his smartness. It may be partly maturity-related, but with such a large disconnect between his apparent intelligence and his testability, I would be looking deeper through assessments. (I think you're already pursuing this?)

 

In the meantime I wonder if things like crosswords, word-searches, colour-by-numbers, mazes, sudoku and other pencil puzzles might be more helpful (and fun!) in terms of encouraging him in the habits of systematically solving problems and filling in blanks on paper. Particularly those with self-checking solutions in the back of the book, so that he begins to think in terms of "Does my answer match the expected answer?" not just "Did I get an answer?" Such puzzle books are usually perceived as fun diversions, not learning exercises, so he might not have a clue that you're trying to improve his test-taking skills ... therefore avoiding the perception of pressure, and any subsequent increased anxiety.

 

Miranda


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#12 of 13 Old 04-06-2012, 10:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for your replies.  I honestly think it's difficult to help out with this question being on the outside looking in and not knowing the situations at school and such. Maybe this was a bad question to ask, and if so I apologize.   He currently goes to a private school, and he has already been accepted into a private school in the city we're moving to. I am not directly concerned with his performance, but rather directly concerned with his ability to mark the answers.  He is doing great academically and he's quite ahead but I have less faith in his teacher due to solid reasons and experience.  

 

 


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#13 of 13 Old 04-06-2012, 10:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I might try the puzzles and see how he likes those. We're getting testing done. He did a good job in his oral tests the other day at his appointment. We have more testing coming up so I think that'll be helpful in pinpointing the issue. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

I really see SimonMom's point. It sounds like pressure to me too. And I also agree that your ds's test-taking troubles sound like more than lack of experience and direction.

 

My kids had never been to school, never taken a test, rarely done a worksheet, never had quizzes or assignments. They were completely unschooled, except that in 3rd grade they were suddenly subjected to nationally normed standardized testing. Admittedly they were a bit older (8 or almost 8), but they'd had no school-like experience at all, and the things you describe your ds struggling with were straightforward for them at that stage. They just walked in, did a variety of bubble-filling, short answer, matching, computer-based and diagrammatic recording of test answers. I don't think they're abnormal not to have trouble with this. We know another family of unschoolers who did the same testing at age 8, and they seemed to do fine too. I mean, the kids were give the usual precautionary reminder of "Do not write answers in the Test Booklet. All your answers should go in the Answer Booklet." But that was all.

 

If your ds is not getting the logic of a worksheet's sequential layout, or not understanding that he's doing the testing work in order for other people to grade his answers and evaluate them for correctness and logical good sense, I would think that it's more than that he just hasn't had things explained. He's obviously very bright, but I think this could be another indication of some sort of learning issue, a cognitive stumbling block of some sort that's currently getting in the way of him fully accessing his smartness. It may be partly maturity-related, but with such a large disconnect between his apparent intelligence and his testability, I would be looking deeper through assessments. (I think you're already pursuing this?)

 

In the meantime I wonder if things like crosswords, word-searches, colour-by-numbers, mazes, sudoku and other pencil puzzles might be more helpful (and fun!) in terms of encouraging him in the habits of systematically solving problems and filling in blanks on paper. Particularly those with self-checking solutions in the back of the book, so that he begins to think in terms of "Does my answer match the expected answer?" not just "Did I get an answer?" Such puzzle books are usually perceived as fun diversions, not learning exercises, so he might not have a clue that you're trying to improve his test-taking skills ... therefore avoiding the perception of pressure, and any subsequent increased anxiety.

 

Miranda



 


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