Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Time For A Practice Test

Test Prep season is almost over for some school districts.  Others will begin testing in December and continue through March.  I've been busy with cognitive skills training since about April and I'm ready for a break.

A practice test is the last step in test prep.  I recommend switching over about 2 weeks before the test.   In preparation, I bought practice tests from the two newest publishers that I don't have on my shelf.  The books will be here in a few days and I will lay out all of the books side-by-side against my charts of skills and report back my findings.

Teaching cognitive skills is, in general, counter intuitive and it's hard to get parents to switch gears to cognitive skills methods and away from the approach that schools use with school curriculum.  This has been the focus of my research lately - training parents to be GAT parents.  Using a practice test is also an odd exercise.

The goal of a practice test is to make sure the child understands the format and basic rules of the test, to prevent any mistakes or confusion from ruining the test, and to relax.

It is very common for a bright child to make up their own rules.  You can identify and correct this problem with a practice test.  It's common for children to forget to check all the possible answers before answering for 71 consecutive questions even though you told them to check all possible answers before answering on the last 70 questions.  Your voice will echo in their brain during the test, but many children won't give you that satisfaction during practice.

It is very common for a child that has already gotten a 98% on the test last year, and who is poised for a 99.7% on the next test - brace yourself - to get half or more questions wrong with a practice test.  The child's brain has a section dedicated to increasing anxiety and frustration in the parent, and this part, called the Frustracampus, is in charge of taking a practice test.

Understanding the format of the test and it's basic rules has been proven to add 4 points to a child's score.  It's not good for much more.  Two weeks is not enough time to turn a 65% child into a 99% powerhouse, but 4 points is 4 points so I recommend this step.

No comments:

Post a Comment