Why Take these Tests so Young?
Consider having your eighth grade student take a standardized test in a formal setting with students she doesn’t know, proctored by an adult other than yourself, that is timed and has bubble sheets to fill out. Your student will need to get familiar and comfortable with this setting because the setting is similar for the test required for PSEO admissions at most colleges and the college placement tests (ACT and SAT). These tests are stressful enough in and of themselves without the additional factors of being unfamiliar with formal testing. We do our students a favor when we help them ease into formal testing.
ACT is giving smaller organizations access to the EXPLORE (designed for ninth graders but can be taken in seventh and eighth) and PLAN (designed for tenth graders but can be taken earlier) tests for one more year (although that’s what they said last year, too). You can sign up to take these tests at South Heights Christian Classes.
But my student doesn’t test well
If you student has high test anxiety, be sure to talk her through the testing process, have her try some practice questions online, and help her understand that there will be questions for which she doesn’t know the answer. The reason they have to ask questions that are “taller” than her knowledge is similar to the idea that in order to measure how tall she is, you need to use a tape measure that is taller than she is. The test will be “taller” than her knowledge so it can more accurately measure. Also, be sure she understands the ramifications of the test results; i.e., in eighth and ninth grades, it doesn’t matter. Years ago as we began testing week at our house, my second grader looked like he was going to be sick. I asked him what was troubling him, and he finally admitted that he was worried that he wouldn’t do well enough on the test.
“Well enough for what?” I asked.
“So that I don’t have to go to public school,” he replied.
I was able to clear up his misunderstanding quickly—the results of the test were only going to be seen by me, and I would only use them to determine whether the curriculum we used the past year was the right fit for him. No one else would see the results and poor results certainly would not require him to attend the public school (he was attending an after-school chess club there and had determined that he did not want to spend every weekday all day in that setting). He cheered up significantly and was able to do his best on the tests.
Tutoring for the Tests
Studying for the ACT tests (EXPLORE, PLAN, and the ACT) has proven to be helpful for some students while other students do well without the extra tutoring. If you are interested in tutoring for your student, you can contact me for more information.
I believe in doing everything we can as parents to pave the road to success for our students, even if we do not fully know where that road might lead them.