Welcome back! As we begin the 2015/2016 school year, now is a good time to learn about and prepare for the experiences your child will have in school, which includes tests he/she will take and the amount of instructional time spent on test prep. Remember, you are your child’s best advocate and the more informed you are, the better you can support his or her needs.
First and foremost, start a dialogue with your child’s teacher. Express your concern about the amount of tests being given and the high stakes placed on testing. Ask what tests your child will be taking this year. Let him or her know that you want to be informed about assessments your child will be given.
In addition to the teacher, let the administrators at your child’s school know about your concerns, as well as your county’s superintendent and school board members. Most can be reached via email. Visit our District Resources page to find contact information for your county. Many districts have their testing scheduled published online, and if not you can request it.
Questions to ask schools and school districts about testing:
- How many, and which tests (both standardized and other) will my child take this year?
- How much class time will be used on the administration of these tests? How much will be spent on test prep?
- What is the specific academic purpose of each test?
- Will the tests be given using paper and pencil or a computer? If on a computer, how much classroom time will be used for computer skills development?
- How will these tests affect my child’s academic standing? What are the consequences of not performing well?
- Does the teacher see the individual student results and use them to inform learning?
- Will the parents receive the test results, and if so when?
- Are these tests directed by the state, district or someone else (who?)
- What non-academic data is collected as part of the tests, or part of other classroom activities? How is this data used? How will my child’s data be protected?