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Preparing To Take the Common Core Assessments

Students in some schools across the country will take online tests on the Common Core curriculum this spring. These tests do not actually count, and many schools are exempt from giving their normal tests in order to participate. This is part of the field testing before next spring, when almost everyone will take the new Common Core tests online (either the Smarter Balanced Assessment or another called the PARCC Assessment.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment website offers practice tests at various grade levels to help students and teachers get ready for the testing. If this is the first time your child will take standardized testing online, it is a good idea to practice taking a similar test before the testing day. This is especially true for the math tests since they require some familiarity with the software to answer certain types of questions. For example, some of the math questions require the test-taker to place points on a graph and then connect them with lines. While this is not a difficult procedure once you understand how to do it, it is much better to practice doing that ahead of time. Other questions allow the use of an online calculator. Once again, it is better to practice using it before the day of testing.

Even if your child is not taking his testing online this spring, the practice tests found at the Smarter Balanced Assessment portal should help prepare for the paper and pencil standardized tests he will be taking.

To take a practice test in either math or language arts, select “Student Interface Practice and Training Tests,” sign in as “Guest,” select the appropriate grade, select “Yes,” and then start either the math or the language arts test. Scoring rubrics and classroom activities can be found on the Resources and Documentation page on the same site.

If your child is worried about taking the tests coming up soon, read Reduce the Stress of High-Stakes Standardized Tests for helpful information.

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