By the Duke Talent Identification Program
It’s March and your child may soon experience spring fever, anticipating the summer months that are just ahead. As school winds down, music recitals, awards banquets, and other end-of-the-year events fill the calendar. The flurry of activity can fuel your child’s restlessness, but the academic year is not over yet! Take the time now to prepare for the end of school and encourage your child to complete the year with his or her best effort. Standardized testing and other end-of-grade testing will soon begin, and most schools use these test scores to make next year’s placement decisions. Parents can take the following steps to ensure a positive testing experience for their children:
- Encourage your child to study the material over an extended period of time, rather than cram the night before.
- If your child seems anxious about testing, ask the teacher or guidance counselor for relaxation tips.
- Mark the testing dates and times on your calendar, and make certain that your child will be at school. Avoid scheduling doctor or dental appointments on these dates.
- Encourage your child to listen to the proctor, read test directions carefully, and seek clarification when needed.
- Make sure that your child is well rested and has his or her usual breakfast on the day of the test.
You are your child’s best advocate. Become well informed about the tests your child is given and how the school will use them. When the results are in, make certain that you understand how to interpret them, and use them to advocate for appropriate educational services for your child by submitting referrals for gifted and talented programs and requesting specific teachers and classes for the following school year.
If your child will be moving to a new building next year, take advantage of campus tours and special orientation sessions. Many schools coordinate such events for students and their parents. Call your school counselor and find out if and when such opportunities will be available.
The spring season brings new growth and a fresh start, so it makes sense to start planning for a challenging and productive experience for the next school year.
—Kristen R. Stephens, PhD