Standardized Testing: Setting Your Child Up for Success No Matter Their Score


standardize testing SBACStandardized Testing: Love it? Hate it? Not sure about it? California public school students in Grades 3-8 and 11 participate in annual standardized testing called the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced or SBAC, for short). Here are some facts that may help you settle your own opinion and help you approach testing week with your child in a way that sets him or her up for success:

  • Your child and his/her “uniqueness” is not defined by the scores they receive on the SBAC. Students are much more than reading, writing, math, and science. They are an artistic hybrid of this and so much more. They are intuitive, creative, articulate, kind, empathetic, musicians, athletes, performers, and all around amazing human beings that a test can’t define.

  • Students who are well fed with a balanced diet and good rest (9-10 hours of sleep) are able to pay attention and perform to their best ability in school.

  • SBAC scores and other data points will be used when placing your child in their appropriate math class at the middle school or high school levels.

  • Each school is held accountable for how their students are performing. The schools, counties, and the state use the data gleaned from SBAC to praise and/or direct the improvement of our practices.

  • Teachers use the data to zero in on supporting students with their unique needs.

  • Love it or hate it, test scores have an influence on property value.

Based on these facts, when my son takes the test next year, we plan to avoid late nights and make sure he gets nine to ten hours of sleep during the testing week, and we’ll follow a regular breakfast and dinner protocol full of nutritious meal options.

I envision talking to him about the test in a way that lets him know I believe it’s important for him to try his best while also easing any pressure he might be feeling – a dialogue like this: 

Son, you are not defined by this test. You are so creative, full of compassion, and curious. No test could tell the world of all your intricate gifts. I want you to do the best that you can so that teachers and your school see a true picture of your ability to write, read, and do math. They will be able to teach you well when they know exactly where you are in the realm of academics. This is also your chance to be a part of telling the story of how great our school is. Good luck, Buddy. I can’t wait to see how you do. And on Friday, we’ll go celebrate at your favorite restaurant. Yes, you can have a milkshake!

I hope this helps you navigate the testing culture in which we live.


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