I'd had a niggling in my brain that I should research the availability of practice tests for J's standardized testing soon. He's a math/science kid like me, unlike his English/verbal father, so I knew practice in the latter would be prudent.
Little did I know how much would be out there for the asking online. Previous tests for Science, Math, and Reading/Writing are readily available back until 2000. They are rather extensive. Reading ones are 22 pages long, but I was smart and figured he could use his youthful eyes, me printing two pages on each sheet.
This morning when he got back from his dad's, I made him do two and a half tests before school. His reading comprehension is great (22/25, two of those missed were ones he skipped) and 20/20 on the half a science test he took.
Problems come with the writing part, 11/20 with one of those missed being skipped. He is unable to identify when to put in a question mark or choose the correct homophone, particularly when it is in multiple choice format. He does fine with punctuation/capitalization when he has to write a sentence out, correcting the example above. I will ponder strategies for him to at least pass the writing portion. It'll be tough, as I definitely remember having a difference of opinion about the 'proper' order of sentences in a paragraph or eliminating specific sentences. Just now, I told him to not be creative as he thinks about things. There is right and there is righter and it doesn't matter if his opinionated little butt is right if there is a righter choice; for example in some instances, see if there's a choice that will give their words back to them. (He got 14/20 on that test.)
Although past tests of history/social studies are not available, there are interactive tests online put out by some of the school districts. He said he was not very confident in this area (and the study materials they gave out were woeful), but he jammed online in a Jeopardy game after school, getting 58/60. There are a bunch more specific subject matter tests he'll be able to practice on. The economics stuff is so confusing.
With math, science, reading, and history/social studies, I think he can pass advanced and I want him to have that goal, a concept he didn't know existed before I brought it up. And, jeez, if he just passes writing, I'll be happy.
We have our work cut out for us. Happy Mother's Day to me. I hope it is raining.
Back when I was a teacher, I taught to the standardized tests. I knew it was wrong, but whatever. They were asking questions that were far above third grade level and I thought it only fair to introduce the kids to those concepts.
I for one am glad they're teaching to the test. Even my son certainly won't know the trading basis of Mali from our Humanities-based, multi-disciplinary dinner conversations.
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