Taking Time to Talk with Your Child about Tests

Assessments are part of life at school, but they don’t have to be a source of stress. Helping your child prepare properly for an exam is important, and the conversation doesn’t have to stop after the test is complete.

PencilsBelow are some tips parents might consider discussing with their child:

  • Let your child know that you are proud of his/her achievements and together you will work on troublesome subject matter.
  • Learn about the type of tests the classroom teacher is using to prepare the children for the tests.
  • Learn about the type of tests the school, district, and state are using to measure the achievement of your child.
  • Find the school, district, or state website for information on the test. Samples of previous tests given may also be found at the website.  Use as practice items for your child to prepare them.
  • Be familiar with the terms used on the test (such as proficient, percentile, and norm-referenced) and be prepared to ask what those terms mean when talking with the classroom teacher, counselor, or principal.
  • If needed, schedule a meeting with the teacher to discuss your child’s test results.
  • Ask your child’s teacher for tips and ideas about working with your child at home. Are there specific packets or materials available that will help your child improve?
  • Ask the teacher if a private tutor might be available. Are there resources the teacher can provide?
  • Create a plan with the teacher to periodically check on your child’s progress in deficient areas.

Involvement before and after any test can help children achieve their goals in the 21st century classroom.

Check out our Parent Power booklet for more information. Additional practice information can be found at the NCES Kids’ Zone.

Carrie Jasper is director of outreach to parents and families at the U.S. Department of Education


  1. When a child is an A/B student and cannot pass the standardized test – something is wrong with the test. When we are giving four hour tests to Kindergarteners, something is wrong with the system. When state agencies are not soliciting feedback directly from our schools and threatening teachers if they don’t conform – something is REALLY wrong.

    When my son is so stressed about a test that is two months away that it changes his entire personality, it affects his mental and physical health – I has a parent have to say -No, we are not taking the test.

    Tying teacher compensation and school ratings to standardized tests make our schools push children beyond their limits.

    The people making these laws and pushing these tests should check out the Facebook page Texas Parents Opt out of Standardized Testing and see the appalling stories of what is going on in our schools!

  2. Schools get stressed about testing. Kid soak up the stress. Parents are coping with stress induced schools. My son as an adult does great, emotionally and economically (FX trader by profession), given his supportive home. He survived but many will not. Many nights my son as a young child went to bed crying because he had trouble reading as a result of a learning disability. He was not a functional reader until after 3d grade. The stress comes from the environment at school. We have to get responsible about testing. Testing serves administrators.

Comments are closed.