Question: As a parent of an early elementary child, what can I be doing now to ensure my child has the proper skills to pass the state mandated assessment tests?
Answer: Parents are awakened to the fact that their child’s future graduation from high school is determined by their ability to pass basic skills tests. The basics of reading, writing, and math have come full circle. Once again, they are essential skills that must not only be understood, but also mastered. The time for you to take action is NOW. I have often told my student’s parents that preparation begins in kindergarten. It may be a few years before the evaluation is tested, but the foundation that is laid in the early years play an integral role in your child’s success on these tests.
The best way for you, as a parent, to prepare your child at this level is to read daily with your child and encourage them to read. Your child’s vocabulary will broaden along with their ability to stay focused on lengthy passages, which are often required on these tests. Talk with them about what they read and what they think about the story. Your role as a parent is important here in that you have the opportunity to demonstrate how these basic skills are relevant in everyday life. One specific example is to allow your child to help with cooking which demands the use of reading and math skills. It also gives them practice in following directions. Most educators would agree that children, whose parents are consistently involved in their education, are more likely to perform well on the test.
Schools will now be evaluated on their ability to adequately prepare their students for passing assessment tests. I am not a proponent of focusing the curriculum solely on the test. Teachers can easily get distracted and frustrated with such an approach. My teaching philosophy has always been that schools, if on the proper path, should place a high emphasis on the basic skills like Reading, Writing, and Math. If the basics are taught, then good results will follow.