The world of standardized testing is constantly evolving, and it can be difficult to navigate. There are, however, many resources available for parents and teachers anxious to know how to help their students excel at the many standardized tests given from primary school to high school.
Standardized Test Prep Information: Where to Find It
Although some people would not think of them, libraries provide extensive catalogs about test taking. Of course, schools provide seminars or discussions for parents and students, so contacting a school counselor would be a good resource. For those who enjoy researching on their own, the Internet can be used to find near-unlimited information round-the-clock.
Elementary School and Middle School Standardized Tests
Information on standardized tests for primary school and middle school students in math, English, and the sciences can most readily be found on most state department of education websites. These websites serve well as a place to learn more about test requirements, scoring guidelines, and test schedules.
Just about every state provides its own resources to assist parents with easy access to test information and the requirements for their children. Though most states do not vary by much, it is a good idea to visit these websites to get a solid idea of what is expected so that any additional preparation can be done well in advance. If a state website does not have a direct link for standardized testing, it is easy to use the website’s search tool with search words such as “standardized test” or “student assessment” to find the information indirectly such as with Alabama’s state website.
Standardized Test Prep Resources by State
Standardized Test Practice
Parents may also look for information on the individual tests’ websites and many offer practice questions and sample tests. Below are links to assessment tests used by states to evaluate student achievement. Online access to practice tests are easy to find directly from these test administrators.
American Institute of Research (AIR)
Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)
Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)
Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC)
Standardized Tests for College Admission
High school students and their parents can search for information on the standardized tests that they will need to take to complete most college applications. Tests conducted by the ACT, Inc and the College Board are available throughout high school. These tests are used to measure achievement and enrichment at various grade levels. It is especially important for high school students to take the PSAT in order to be eligible for scholarships no later than their third year, particularly the National Merit Scholarship Program.
Standardized Test Prep Practice
Not only can teachers, parents, and students find information on standardized tests, they can also search for information on how to improve in the tests’ subjects: math, reading, grammar, vocabulary, and writing. Knowing what the test requires first will help students develop successful testing strategies. Students should also give themselves plenty of time before test time to practice and make a plan to study based on the information or topics they feel the weakest in, and get started early! Test-takers should give themselves plenty of time to understand the tests’ requirements, learn strategies, and use their time to improve in content knowledge.
Without a doubt, there are a variety of standardized test prep practice websites available. High schoolers and parents of high schoolers should not underestimate the value of free information. One website that provides detailed information on the SAT, other than College Board, is Khan Academy. ACT, Inc. also provides sample questions directly on its website for aspiring test-takers who want to get a look at the test.
Be Ready for the Standardized Test
One of the last steps students may take as the time for the standardized tests arrives is to make sure they follow some very basic testing rules to keep their minds and bodies healthy.
- Keep a positive attitude with the study plan, before the test begins, and as the test progresses.A positive attitude supports positive effects.
- Create a study plan that is both realistic and effective.
- Do not cram the night before the standardized test. Cramming does not work and adds stress to an already stressful situation.
- Eat a healthy breakfast the day of the test, and if possible, bring a healthy snack.
- Get plenty of sleep the night before the test.
With these things in mind, test-takers will feel prepared for their tests. Do you have any other go-to resources to help your kids prepare for standardized tests?
Author: Nicole Acevedo, Program Manager at MathWizard, Inc.