Six Tips for Getting Good Achievement Test Results

End of the year achievement testing is now here, and in many states it’s a requirement.   It’s one thing to possess a set of skills, but another to be able to demonstrate them in a test setting which may be unfamiliar and feel uncomfortable to the student.  Below are six tips that, if followed, will increase the likelihood of a positive and successful test experience.

For the Child

1.  Proper Rest
To do well one must feel his best.  Your child should receive an adequate amount of sleep the night before the testing so that he will be alert and ready to put in a full morning's work.

2.  Proper Breakfast
A good breakfast is necessary so that your child will have the necessary energy to perform at his best.

3.  Good Health
Children who are sick or experiencing a cold should postpone testing.  It's hard to do one's best when you don't feel good.

For the Parent

1.  Have a Positive Attitude
Younger children are greatly influenced by the attitudes and perceptions of their parents.  If your attitude is one that the test is an opportunity for your child to show what he has learned during the year, most will approach the test in a positive manner and experience decreased or little stress.

On the other hand, if you perceive the testing as an adversary to your home schooling efforts, your child may well feel threatened and perform poorly due to an increased degree of stress.

We suggest you communicate the following to your child:

The test experience, while maybe not fun (although some children may think it is), will be an opportunity to be with other home-schooled children and a time to show what has been learned.

Help him see the examiner as a friend who is there to help him do his best.  Think of him or her as a coach who, while unable to play in the game, is there to encourage and help each player do his best.

2.  Recognize the Significance of the Test
The most any achievement test can do is sample student knowledge.  It is not comprehensive, and should not be seen as measuring "all that a student knows."  From an achievement test, we may infer that a student possesses (or lacks) a greater body of knowledge, but that is all.  Therefore, an achievement test should be seen as an indicator of academic progress, not an absolute measurement.

3.  Choose a Test Setting Appropriate to your Child's Temperament
For some young children, the best test setting is a small group of familiar home school friends in which the parent is present for moral support.  This helps alleviate tension that may develop should the child be tested privately in which the entire attention is focused on the child.

Other children will do better in a private setting if they are easily distracted or become overly nervous in a group setting.  If this is the case, choose an examiner who is empathetic with home schooling and your child in particular.  Remember that the goal is to get an accurate picture of what the child knows.

I hope you find these time-tested tips useful as you prepare your children for testing this spring.   Interested in more ideas and an actual test you can give at home?  Grab a copy of Achieving Peak Performance.  It’s available as an instant download for grades 1-10!   Go to the Spot Light on our home page for more details and find out how to get a free practice test too.


Curt Bumcrot is the founder and director of Basic Skills Assessment and Educational Services. He has been active both as a teacher and administrator in Christian Schools. He and his wife, Jenny, who home schooled their three children, currently reside in Oregon City.

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