Reviewing Your Child’s Standardised Test Scores

by Christine Chadwick

Standardised testing occurs at predictable intervals during your child's school journey. These tests provide a snapshot of how much knowledge a student has acquired by a certain point and also how this level of skill and knowledge compares to other students of the same age. This comparison is often further broken down into how your child fares in relation to similarly situated students in his or her own school, school district, and throughout the nation.

When reviewing this information you may have many questions about what your child's scores mean in practical terms for your response in the short-term and for your planning in the future. Understanding how the test scores relate to the teaching available to your son or daughter and how your child is responding to the learning environment is crucial for you to best support your child.

Purpose of the testing

Understanding the reasons for the testing can help you assess your student's performance. The test scores within a school can give you valuable information about the challenges schools face locally and how well they are meeting those challenges.

Once you have a grasp of the performance of your student's peers at several different levels, then you have a better feel for how your child's scores compare. You can next look more closely at his or her scores for information about competence and growth.

Communicate with teacher and school

Schedule a time to discuss your child's test performance with someone who can explain both what the test reveals about your child and what other measures are in place to measure his or her growth. Spend some of that time reviewing your child's score and exploring what it means to school officials.

Find out how the teacher and school intends to use the score and whether they are concerned about your child's showing. If your child did well, ask for suggestions to challenge your child to continue the growth. If the score is lower, talk about whether the performance was to be expected given what the school knows about your student and what they have planned to accelerate academic growth.

Look at the big picture

Ask to see other indicators of your child's progress, which may be hard to translate into a test score. Does your child show growth in the arts or social skills that gives you a more complete idea of how learning is progressing? Is there a gap between the knowledge and skills your child can demonstrate in the classroom and the test results?

Problem solve with school officials if the test results are lower than what had been expected given classroom performance. Discuss the school's approach for test preparation and ask if there are things you can be doing at home to improve the score during the next round.

Use the scores for good

Whether your student scored below, at, or above expectations, use the test and result to improve your child's overall learning experience. Once you have a baseline for your student, keep in mind one of the best indicators going forward is how he or she performs in the future compared to that snapshot.

If your child needs help on the next test or in general, seek resources from the school or ELSEWHERE. If your child is already soaring far beyond his or her peers, use this knowledge to enrich both home and school life for continued growth and success.