4 Tips to Better Performance on the STAAR Test
It's STAAR Test Time! This time of year, we hear from a lot of parents and students who are preparing, and maybe worrying, about the STAAR test.
There is a lot of conversation about standardized testing with pros and cons on both sides. In the end, your student still has to take the test and one of the top pros for standardized testing is the fact that it is a great benchmark for parents and teachers to see how a student is doing in comparison to other students in the class, school, city, and even the state! But, one of the top cons against standardized testing is that it can create MAJOR stress! Students often feel under a lot of pressure to perform well on the test. Many times, the test score can affect their confidence: high scores can boost their confidence, while low scores can cause their confidence to become deflated. This can lead to student test anxiety and a distaste for math.
But fear not! Here are a couple of STAAR test taking tips to hopefully lighten the burden on you, your student, and the whole family this year!
KNOW AND UNDERSTAND THE CONTENT
The best way to be prepared for the STAAR test is to know and understand the material that is going to be on it. The test covers the skills they have worked on in class throughout the year, so step number one should be to review and study those materials to ensure your student has a firm understanding of them. In other words, Practice – Practice – Practice! The more confident your student is with these skills, the more likely they will be successful on the test.
BE COMFORTABLE TAKING TESTS
At Mathnasium, we see many students who suffer from testing anxiety. One of the main reasons is because they are not confident in their skills. The more comfortable they are with the material, the more likely they will be able to remember them in test-taking situations. Another cause of test anxiety is not knowing what the test is going to be like. But again, the more you practice, the more prepared you will be. So as a parent, one thing you can do is have them work on practice tests. This knocks out two important things: it gets them prepared for the content, and gets them used to the format of the actual STAAR test. The sooner your student overcomes the fear that comes with not knowing what the test is going to be like, the better they will perform when they get in the classroom to take the test.
There are a lot of STAAR practice tests online that you and your child can practice with.
BE RELAXED AND CONFIDENT
All the previous tips are very important, but none of it will matter if your student is not mentally and physically prepared come test time! Here are some ideas:
- Make sure your student gets a good night sleep before the test
- Make sure your student eats a good breakfast. Avoid sugar to keep from "crashing" during the test
- Make sure your student knows that they can take breaks. A lot of students think that tests are races and often feel they have lost if everyone finishes before them; Let them know that the STAAR test, as well as all tests, are to be done at their own pace and they can take breaks if they need to. It doesn’t matter how long it takes them to complete the test, as long as they do the best they can
- Make sure your student is confident. Students get further with a positive attitude compared to a negative attitude
- This one is for you parents: Plan something special for your student post-test. Give them something to look forward to, almost like a celebration for their hard work and preparation for the test. Maybe a movie or dinner at their favorite restaurant, reward their efforts!
BRING THEM TO MATHNASIUM!
The final tip would be to bring them to Mathnasium. We will do an in-depth assessment to determine exactly which skills need to be addressed. We will then work to increase their math knowledge and confidence in all areas of math, not just for the STAAR test.
Whether they are behind or advanced in math, we have a program for all students here!