PARCC Resources for Parents

PARCC Resources for Parents

My kids have been taking the PARCC standardized test for the new Common Core standards this past month. They do not enjoy standardized tests but the upside is that the elementary school Physical Education teacher opens the gym early on test days and has them play Pickle Ball. He says the research shows that exercise before tests helps them perform better so he’s happy to come to school early to run games for them.

In Massachusetts where I live, there was concern that the Common Core standards would be lower than the current ones. This concern is in the minority for most states but Massachusetts students score among the highest in the world in reading, math and science. Still, I can attest to anxiety among kids, parents and teachers when it comes to standardized tests. I know that my kids get stressed out even though they are well prepared.

I think standardized tests are part of life and we, as parents, should view them much like a sport … there are ways to practice to improve to the level that makes sense for you and your child. The first thing is to view assessments as feedback to see how your child is doing.

Things I look for:

Are there patterns in what my child did not do well on? I think my son in 4th grade is a decent writer but his open response questions were consistently low last year in 3rd grade. Why? He tends to write very short answers because he doesn’t think it matters. I did two things: I had his sister, PickyKidPix, who did well on open response assignments tutor him with a small incentive. Help him get the highest score in his homework assignment and earn a bonus. $5 for helping him with one homework assignment; bonus $5 if he gets the highest score. It only took one session for his writing to improve permanently. We just had to convince him to 1) Fill the full-page; 2) Support your topic sentence at least three ways; 3) Length does matter.
Multiple Choice Strategies. My kids tend to read the test page too quickly and jump to the answer without considering all the possibilities. A good test strategy for life is to eliminate the obvious wrong answers and the ponder the remaining two or three choices. Cross off the wrong ones, ponder, and then circle the correct answer.
Double check your work. My kids are proud when they are the first ones done but I cringe. Did you check your work? Double check? Triple check? There are no bonus points for first one done; use the time to make sure you didn’t make a silly mistake like transferring the wrong answer to the bubble.
Practice Questions. I like to print out old assessments and have my kids run through them at home. Sometimes just being familiar with the format helps them feel more comfortable and I can point out areas for them to pay attention to … like the directions or the caption text under an image.

Do you want to learn more about the Common Core and new assessments? Be a Learning Hero is a new website and initiative that provides resources for parents. It’s a non-profit and its mission is to help provide tools to help your child succeed. Some examples of the resources include a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) on the PARCC for parents, fun learning resources including math games by grade, and help with homework questions.

How about you? Are your kids taking the PARCC assessments and how is that going? Please share!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Be a Learning Hero. The opinions and text are all mine.

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom

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