As A Grade Ahead’s long-term students know, each year there is an entire monthly workbook dedicated to helping them prepare to take standardized tests. For the majority of students, Preparing for Tests is completed in February, although some Academies may complete this month in January, March, or April.
But why does A Grade Ahead alter its typical workbook structure for one month out of the year? The simple answer is this: it’s important. These days there is a lot riding on performing well on standardized tests. Younger students take tests that help prove their teachers are doing a good job—and they even generate revenue for their schools if they score well. Middle school students take standardized tests to get them into honors coursework and sometimes, in big school districts, tests can determine if they get into the prestigious college or university of their choice. Obviously, older students have the most to gain from performing well on the SAT or ACT tests. College admissions and scholarship dollars are dependent on whether students perform well or not on written tests.
That’s why A Grade Ahead has dedicated an entire month to preparing for tests.
Younger students participate in our “Grade Readiness” program while students in grades 3-8 complete our “Preparing for Tests” curriculum. In Pre-K and Kindergarten, students practice real-life skills needed, including working with money and comprehension. Meanwhile, 1st and 2nd graders receive material that will help them with the higher-level thinking needed in the next grade. Finally, students in grades 3-8 will complete a comprehensive, detailed program to learn and develop skills and strategies for taking tests.
What Can Be Found in the Preparing for Tests Booklets?
Test Taking Tips and Strategies
To give your child the best chance at success, our test-taking tips cover both general strategies and strategies specific to certain topics.
Your child will learn how to approach multiple choice questions, even ones that are two parts. Tests want to see answers and evidence, so we offer tips that can help lead to success.
The English curriculum features tips on how to answer open-ended questions with our very own prose-constructed response guidelines and practice. Our curriculum mirrors the skills and steps needed to answer short and extended open-ended questions found on standardized tests. As our curriculum is designed by experienced experts in the fields, we are confident your child will learn the best approach to these commonly missed questions.
Our math curriculum gives your student a list of topics covered, a certain strategy to develop, and practice questions to help develop this strategy. Two skills emphasized in math are showing work and solving word problems. Younger students may practice the C.U.B.E. method for solving word problems. In addition to building basic skills, your student will cover complex topics that were specifically selected for this curriculum.
Our goal is to get your child performing at his or her best during tests, and what better way to do this than to offer full-length tests that replicate the experience of taking a standardized test?
Instead of our normal homework, students will complete practice tests instead. (Don’t worry – we indicate when to stop and take a break!)
Being familiar with the overall experience of taking a test can be immensely helpful for students when the time for testing actually comes. Preparing for Tests material can help students to feel prepared, know what to expect, and avoid some test anxiety.
If you’re wondering how to best use our material, check out this post to get the most out of Preparing for Tests month!
Review and Reinforcement of Previous Material
Within the context of the standardized practice tests, A Grade Ahead students also review lessons that they have learned both in school and at A Grade Ahead. It’s an ideal time to gauge if a student has retained these lessons or if perhaps they need to revisit a topic or two in which they need a refresher.
We find that A Grade Ahead’s Preparing for Tests month is a critical part of our program. Our students gain confidence in their skills, become familiar with the format of standardized tests, and are able to achieve the highest scores they can.
One of our parents in Central Ohio attributed our preparation to helping her son. On a parent survey, she said,
“A Grade Ahead has helped my son achieve above average scores on his state standardized testing.” -M.A.
We love helping students be successful and feel successful. Can we help your child too?
Are your students utilizing our Preparing for Tests curriculum right now? What do you think of A Grade Ahead’s program? Has it helped your student? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!
Updated Author: Emily Karth, Curriculum Manager at A Grade Ahead
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