California: Standardized Testing and Reporting Program
Suggestions for Parents and Guardians
Parents and guardians play a very important part in their students’ education. Encouraging students to do their best in school and showing positive attitudes toward completing school assignments well and on time can positively affect learning. Research about how students learn shows that a great deal can be done at home to increase a student’s academic performance.
One question you may have about the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program is, “How can I help students do better on the tests?” The question really is, “How can I help students do well in school?” What you do at home can make a very big difference in how well students achieve in school.
Most Important of All
Let your students know how important their work at school is and how interested you are in what they are doing. Talk with them every day about:
- What they did at school
- What homework must be finished for the next day
- What needs to be done on a future project
Suggestions for helping students in reading, writing, mathematics, and other academic areas follow.
In Reading and Writing
- Listen to your students read and read stories aloud to and/or with them.
- Talk about what you and your students are reading and words they do not understand.
- Have family time when you and your students read a newspaper, magazine, or book.
- Encourage your students to write lists, notes, thank-you notes, requests, journals, recipes, short stories, and other types of writing.
- For writing assignments, talk with your students about what the assignment requires; help them list the points to cover. Take your students to the library or help them use the Internet if more information is needed.
- Set a limit on the amount of time your students watch television. Watch and discuss television programs with them whenever possible.
- Check with your students every day to make sure homework assignments are completed.
- Attend parent/guardian classes about mathematics to prepare for questions that your students might ask at home.
- Ask questions to show how mathematics is used to help solve problems as you play games, watch television, or prepare to do a home project.
- Show your students how you use mathematics in what people do every day (cooking, shopping, or home repairs) or when buying materials to use in crafts, sewing, or building projects.
- Help your students read charts or graphs in newspapers and magazines and read maps when going on a family trip. It is important to help your students apply what they are learning.
In Other Academic Areas
Other academic areas, such as science and history-social science, challenge students to use reading, writing, and mathematics skills along with their knowledge about the subject. As your students read about a subject, ask them to tell you about it to reinforce their new knowledge and to use the new vocabulary they learned.
Share your interest in any academic area because students become interested in what is discussed at home. Family trips to museums, special television programs, news about a recent scientific discovery, or important world and local events should be shared and discussed. At times, let your students take the lead in talking about topics of interest to them.
You Can Help Students Do Better on State Tests
- Visit the school to find out how your students’ classroom instruction addresses California’s content standards.
- Attend parent/guardian-teacher conferences to find out how well your students are achieving and what they need to do to improve.
- Discuss with your students the importance of going to school every day and doing their best on assignments and tests.
- Make sure your students have a quiet place to study and that they complete all homework assignments.
- Attend parent/guardian information meetings. Ask about the major tests given to students and other ways academic achievement is measured.
- Know when the major tests, such as tests in the STAR Program, are given and find out what you can do to help make sure your students are prepared.
- Discuss upcoming tests with your students and try to reduce their pretest anxieties. Reassure your students that the test results will provide useful information about what they know and what they still need to learn.
- Make sure your students attend school on testing days, get a good night’s rest, and have breakfast before a big test.
Students do better in school when parents and guardians get involved. In addition to the suggestions already described in this brochure, you can become involved by attending school events, joining parent/guardian groups, and visiting your school’s Web site.
You also are encouraged to contact the school for additional information about your students’ academic progress and the tests students are taking at school.
To Find Out More
Additional information on the STAR Program is available on the California Department of Education Web site at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sr/.
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