Grade 3 of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy is preparing for our first standardized test, the Terra Nova.
We will be practicing towards the end of this week and learning test-taking strategies. These strategies will benefit the students during testing week which begins on Tuesday, October 9th and continues through Monday, October 15th. In the event that your child is absent on a testing day, he or she will be able to make up the missed section from October 16th through the 19th.
Below, please find answers to the most common questions students have about standardized testing strategies as well as tips for you to review with your child.
Q: Should I guess if I don’t know the answer?
A: In the case of the Terra Nova, the answer is yes. The Terra Nova does not take off points for answering incorrectly; they just don’t add any points.
Q: What should I do if I’m stuck on a question?
A: Skip it. Students can always return to the question once they have answered those they are more sure about. Please advise your child to be careful about filling in the answer sheet. It may seem obvious to skip that line on the answer sheet when you skip the question, but in the intense atmosphere of a testing situation, it’s easy to forget to do this.
Q: How can I avoid skipping a line on the answer sheet?
A: Often, students find themselves at the end of the test, with two or three answers left to fill in on the answer sheet. To avoid this situation, Mrs. Leto will give her students a piece of paper to help them keep their place on the answer sheet.
Reassure your child:
Tell your child that the test will be used to see how well they are learning and to evaluate how well a school is educating its students.
Put the test in perspective:
Explain that this test score is looked in addition to many other pieces of information, such as grades and progress over time. This may be a big test, but it is still just one test.
Come prepared and get to school early:
On Terra Nova testing days, be sure to send your child to school prepared with two number two pencils. Also, be sure to get to school early. Tardy students are a major distraction once testing has begun.
Take a deep breath:
Have students practice taking deep breaths and silently counting to ten.
Listen carefully to the instructions from the teacher, and read the directions to each question carefully. Be sure you understand exactly what you have to do for each part of the test. Look at ALL answer choices and choose the best and most complete answer. If you are not sure which answer is correct, eliminate choices that you know are incorrect. Then, focus on the remaining choices. Students are not to write anything in the test booklet; they will be provided scrap paper.
Look for key words:
Look for key words in test directions and questions such as: choose, describe, explain, compare, identify, similar, except, not, and but.
A word of caution about changing answers is that, usually, your first choice is correct. If you have to change an answer be sure to erase completely.
Stay focused and pace yourself:
Stay focused on the test, even if other students finish early. Each section of the test has an allotted time limit.
Get a good night’s rest:
Be sure your child is comfortable and alert on the day of the test by having them get a good night’s sleep the nights before each testing day. Students should have a healthy, light breakfast each morning (a heavy breakfast can make students sleepy).
Finally, tell your child that the test will have some difficult questions on it. All of the questions are not supposed to be easy. Please explain that they may not be able to answer all of the questions, and that they should just do their best.