Notes to Parents Administering Tests
Dos and Don’ts for Giving Your Child a Test
- DON’T look at the test ahead of time to teach your child things he may not know. Although this may be tempting, it isn’t ethical or even beneficial. Teaching to the test skews the results of both the child’s score and the norming of the tests and can jeopardize the future of parents’ freedom to administer the tests.
- DO look at the instructions ahead of time. Parents should look at instructions ahead of time, but not at the test itself.
- DO conduct a general review with your child beforehand. Go over the basic things you’ve taught your child in math, English, reading, etc. The test is going to cover general skills–so take a few weeks (not days or hours) and review a little bit each day. If testing an older child, go back and review basic math computation WITHOUT a calculator, especially if your child has gone on to higher math concepts as he may be rusty with manual computation.Make sure your child knows what you’ve taught him, but don’t worry about what’s actually on the test. Parents often feel pressured to make sure their child knows everything on the test, but this actually defeats the purpose of a test: to show what a child really knows. If you don’t plan to teach fractions until the following year, don’t worry if the test contains fractions. Just know that your child will get them later.
- DON’T try to fit everything into one day. Be sure to take the recommended time to administer the test; trying to cram everything into a shorter time only makes things harder on the student and may adversely affect the results.
- DON’T hover over your child while he is taking the test, but DO be visible. You don’t want to look at your child’s answers or display any feedback as to how your child is performing, but you do want to be in the general vicinity to make sure your child is studiously working on the test.
- DON’T try to grade the test yourself. When finished testing, put the test in an envelope and wait for the scores to be returned. See Interpretation of Test Results for guidance on interpreting the test results when you receive them.
Special thanks to Sarah Olbris for her help in compiling this page. Here are some important guidelines to follow when administering a test to your child. Following these guidelines will both help you obtain more accurate results and safeguard parents’ freedoms to administer tests without additional restrictions.