My daughter's not doing well on tests…she just guesses! How can I help her?
My daughter is very smart. When we study for tests - she is ready and seems to know all the answers! BUT - when she takes them at school, she doesn't do so well. I'll have her re-take the test at home and she'll get all the answers correct. It seems to be more on multiple choice type of tests. She seems to be just guessing. The teacher says that she "daydreams." Does anyone have any advice on how to handle this?
How old is your daughter? Has she always had these difficulties? Has your daughter ever been evaluated for special education? Your answers to these questions will greatly influence the next steps.
If you daughter has generally been successful on these types of tests and is only recently having difficulty, the possibility exists that she is distracted by something going on at home or school. She may be thinking about what just happened on the playground, ruminating on a disagreement with the yard duty, or feeling anxious over a frustrating conversation with a sibling as she was walking out the door in the morning. In this instance, she might benefit from some strategies to focus herself during tests, such as using a "stress ball" or other fidget activity to receive some sensory stimulation and increase focus.
If your daughter has always had trouble with tests, she may have some anxiety about the test-taking situation. She may require an alternative test-taking strategy (perhaps she can take the test at the back of the room or another room away from her peers). Or, she may need some extra time for the test. She may have a learning difference that disallows her from processing the testing information quickly. Similarly, she may have problems with attention or organization that get in the way of her performance. If she has always had problems with test-taking, she may require an evaluation from the school. This should be discussed with her teacher. You have the legal right to formally request an evaluation (in writing) that the school must respond to if they are reluctant to test.
Hope that helps. Good luck!
L. Compian, Ph.D.