Why Parents Should Learn About Standardized Tests
These days, it seems like school and testing are practically synonyms. Not only do our children have to worry about quizzes, homework, and reading and math tests – they also have a slew of alphabet-soup standardized tests to contend with.
Public schools often use these tests for so-called “tracking” – that is, placing your child with other children deemed to have similar abilities. It is in your child’s best interest to be placed in the highest possible grouping for his capability. Based on his test score, your child may be assigned to a self-contained classroom based on competence (for example, a Gifted and Talented Program – often referred to as a G&T or TAG program), or he may be in a mixed classroom but placed into smaller, more tailored groups for certain subjects.
Tracking is a controversial practice, for a number of reasons. And, on a gut level, it does seem unfair. Despite all of that, it’s the reality in a number of public schools – so your job as a parent is to work with your child to ensure that he does as well as possible on the placement exam. Here's some tips on what you can do to help, compliments of Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom: