Wednesday’s Parent: Ins and outs for standardized tests

Ins and outs for standardized tests. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Ins and outs for standardized tests. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Standardized tests are under close scrutiny as parents, students, teachers, governments and colleges question which ones to take or avoid. Across the country, parents are forming opt out movements for Common Core testing in primary and secondary schools. More colleges are providing SAT and ACT test optional admission applications. However, standardized tests are being used as a ubiquitous measurement of academic performance. Money and preferential admission offers may be attached when colleges seek to reward high scorers and entice them to attend. Scholarship dollars and bragging rights go to PSAT merit scholars. College credit may be earned from AP and IB tests.

Criticism surrounds the frequency, length, and effectiveness of standardized tests. Parents worry about the stress they put on their children. Teachers are concerned with testing influencing classroom teaching. Many people wonder if tests accurately measure what they set out to do.

Bottom line, a lot is riding on test outcomes. When students take them, they should be well prepared to do their best. Reducing stress by familiarity with how the test is graded and what it is used for is helpful. So is training for stamina by taking past tests. On test day, students can enter well rested, fed and stocked with necessary supplies, leaving most of their anxiety behind.

Parents can help with test prep by finding study materials, creating a quiet work space, and making sure routine time is blocked out for study. Sometimes, tutors are the way to go. Test-taking is a skill that children will find useful throughout life when they take a driving test, college placement test, and employment exam. For motivation, explain the benefits of a job well done.

Add some family fun into test prep. For example, make a game out of using vocabulary words and enjoy meal time conversations. Be sure to celebrate accomplishments and have something to look forward to after the test!

Read Suzanne’s post: Test Prep-The Key to the College Kingdom


This high school test means college money

Wednesday’s Parent: 7 standardized test survival tips


Don’t worry if you missed any great insights from Claire Griffiths and the #campuschat crew. Tips were coming fast about how to decide which test to take (SAT vs ACT), the differences in the test, and some great info about the new SAT coming this October! Go to #CampusChat Recap 4/22: SAT vs ACT with Claire Griffith and if you have more questions, tweet them using #campuschat.


Tonight is Wednesday’s Parent night (the fourth Wednesday of each month) on #CampusChat, Wednesday, April 22, 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will talk with Claire Griffith, manager and administrator of the Direct Hits PSAT, SAT, and ACT courses at Parents and students can also check out the fun to read Direct Hits Core and Toughest Vocabulary books. Please join @SuzanneShaffer and me-@pocsmom with our guest @directhitsfan and bring your questions and comments.

Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from to and vice versa.

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