State Assessment Tests
by Laurie Cool
January 14, 2016
The Kansas Assessment Program is a mandate of the Kansas State Legislature to meet the requirements of the federal No Child left Behind (NCLB) legislation. Students are tested each year in reading, mathematics, and science.
Last year’s change in the state assessments brought a new look and focused more on tests being aligned to the Kansas College and Career Ready Standards. Any time there is a change in the norm, there is an adjustment period. Comparing this year’s assessment scores to last year’s scores will be a true indicator of each student’s level of learning. Individual reports can be shared with students and their parents to provide specific information about how the student did overall in the content area as well as for each individual tested indicator. The student’s scores are also compared with other students in Kansas in their same grade level. Thus, the student has a reference point to see how they are progressing academically.
The testing window for 2016 is arranged differently than previous years. Beginning February 16th, students will be given the performance task portions of the assessments. Once this testing window closes on March 10th, students will have one week before the window opens for the remaining assessments: English/Language Arts, Math, Science, and History/Government (March 16th-May 12th).
Without proper planning and preparation, the State Tests can be very exhausting and emotionally draining for students and teachers.
Here are some tips to help your child be successful!
What can parents do to help?
1. The Night Before
Get to bed early, get plenty of rest. Remember, our brain and body need sleep to function well, so don't stay up late!
2. The Morning of the Test
Did you know that students think better when they have a full stomach? So don't skip breakfast the morning of the test. So, have them eat well, their brains will be turned on and tuned up. Studies show that students need good nutrition to concentrate and perform their best.
3. Reassure your child
Tell your child that the test will be used to evaluate how well a school or school district is educating its students. It's important for kids to have a sense of the broader context. Encourage your child to work hard and do their best. Please, do not schedule appointments during the test-taking times.
What Students Can Do During the Test
Before the test begins, make sure you have everything you'll need - scratch paper, extra pencils, water bottle, and a calculator (if you're allowed to use it). Read the instructions! You want to make sure you are marking answers correctly.
1. Stay Hydrated
Drinking water will keep your brain healthy and ready to work. This will raise test scores.
2. Read the directions.
It’s important that you follow the instructions exactly.
3. Answer easy questions first.
Doing this can jog your memory about useful facts. You may also come across information that can help you with other questions.
4. Answer every question.
You must answer every question! You may mark through questions for review, go on, and then come back to them later.
5. Identify key words.
This helps you focus on the main idea of challenging questions.
6. Rephrase difficult questions.
To understand questions better, rewrite them in your own words. Be careful not to change the meaning.
7. Have a Positive Attitude
Approach the big test as you'd approach a giant jigsaw puzzle. It might be tough, but you can do it! A positive attitude goes a long way toward success.
8. Manage Your Time
Scan through the test quickly before starting. Answering the easy questions first can be a time saver and a confidence builder. Plus, it saves more time in the end for you to focus on the hard stuff.
9. I'm Stuck!
Those tricky problems can knock you off balance. Don't get worried or frustrated. Reread the question to make sure you understand it, and then try to solve it the best way you know how. If you're still stuck, mark it for review and move on. You can come back to it later. What if you have no idea about the answer? Review your options and make the best guess you can. Use your sticker feature and eliminate some of the answer choices.
10. Take a deep breath
If you are a nervous test taker do deep breathing exercises before the test, or take a deep breath and count to ten. Then take shorter deep breaths in between passages or sections of the test -- counting to three only. This exercise is fast and simple, but it really works!
11. Multiple-Choice Questions
The process of elimination can help you choose the correct answer in a multiple-choice question. Start by crossing off the answers that couldn't be right. Then spend your time focusing on the possible correct choices before selecting your answer
12. I'm Done!
Not so fast - Use all the time you're given .When you complete the last item on the test, remember that you're not finished yet. Go back to review your answers, making sure that you didn't make any careless mistakes such as skipping a question. Spend the last remaining minutes going over the hardest problems before you submit your test.
Follow these test tips, and you'll know you did your best - congratulations!
If you would like more information about testing, you can go to the Kansas State Department of Education website.
We thank you, in advance, for your support!
Submitted by Laurie Cool---excerpts taken from the KSDE website.