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Standardized Test Preparation
Q: My fifth-grader will be taking standardized tests soon. What can I do at home to help her prepare?
A: Standardized tests are not like weekly spelling tests. There is really nothing that you can do specifically to help your daughter study in preparation for these tests. Your daughter has been preparing for standardized tests all year because they will measure how much she has already learned about such subjects as reading, math, language arts, spelling, social studies, and science. Incidentally, these tests are called "standardized" tests because every student taking them takes them in exactly the same way.
Parents who always take an interest in their children's homework, stay in communication with their teachers to monitor their academic progress, and constantly encourage their children's curiosity are helping their kids prepare for any test. One of the best ways to help your daughter be prepared for standardized tests is by encouraging good study skills throughout the year. Provide a comfortable, well-lit place for your daughter to study and offer to help when needed. If you notice she's having problems, talk to her teacher right away -- don't wait until the day before the test.
Research shows that you can help your child perform better by making sure that she gets a good night's sleep and eats a nutritious breakfast before tests. Another important tip is to be supportive without pressuring your child. You don't want her to develop test anxiety. And don't be overly anxious about any test scores, but always encourage her to take tests seriously. Finally, remember to never judge her on the basis of a single test score.
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Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.