Our state doesn’t require yearly testing, so this was the first year we tried it. My seventh-grader John took a standardized test with a group of elementary and middle school students.
I decided to have him take the test this year for one main reason: we want him to go on to college, and that path requires standardized tests for admission and scholarships. The more practice he has at test-taking, the easier it will be for him to take the SAT or ACT in the last years of high school.
If I wasn’t sure about making him take the test before, I was after I told him I had signed him up. He begged and begged not to go, as he tends to be afraid of the unknown. He needed to know it wasn’t so bad.
Happily, John recognized two of the students in the testing group, and he felt a little more at ease. By the second day he was much more relaxed, and by the third day testing was no big deal. Goal accomplished.
This week the scores came in, and we were excited as we studied them together. A friend of mine has her children tested every couple of years to see how they’re doing and what she may need to work on with them. John did well in every subject, though his scores were lower in history and geography.
I’m not sure how helpful these test scores are in helping me fine-tune my teaching, though. The history questions consisted of world history, and we’re learning American history this year. John also told me after the test that he made a lot of educated guesses. He didn’t realize until the end of the second day that he wasn’t supposed to answer questions he didn’t know.
Will I test again next year? Yes, I’ll have John take the tests so he can feel even more comfortable with the process. For us, seventh grade was a good year to start.