Education, particularly learning outcomes, has been a significant concern as we confront the aftermath of the epidemic. As students return to the classroom, there is an increased need for assistance as they readjust to the learning environment.
Standardized tests have been utilized as a measuring stick to evaluate student achievement on a greater scale in conjunction with state testing and other activities. Moreover, as reports of declining NAEP scores and increased learning difficulty for pupils surface, we must examine our future approach to education. Again, the purpose is not to instill fear but to consider how we may improve learning outcomes for children in and out of school to facilitate a smoother adjustment process.
Recognizing the impact of declining test scores
Consider first how learning outcomes are measured and what the results are intended to indicate. The National Assessment of Educational Development (NAEP) is regarded by many as the nation’s report card and a means of measuring educational progress. Unfortunately, the most recent NAEP scores for math and reading among nine-year-olds indicate a significant decline. Although the fall was observed across all socioeconomic levels and races, the lowest-performing students performed even worse.
It is the first time in a very long time that many youngsters are in a regular school atmosphere, so, understandably, test-taking and learning will be challenging. However, these ratings indicate that the pandemic has not been easy and that education has been severely damaged. According to the scores, pre-pandemic progress has taken a significant step backward, and children are visibly struggling. Test scores are only one metric, but they are crucial for recognizing where the difficulties are and, more importantly, who is affected.
This is why it is crucial to focus on actions that parents may do at home to get their child’s progress back to where it was – and even further – than before. The stress created by the pandemic has taken an emotional toll on pupils and parents, and we see that impact with these results. While test results are not the only way to gauge progress, they indicate a need to spend additional time with students in math and reading. Improving student test scores will not necessarily occur quickly, but establishing the necessary abilities and traits will contribute to their long-term success.
How can you increase your test scores?
As we readjust to life following the end of the pandemic, parents can take bold steps to improve educational achievements.
However, what does this look like in practice? How many children’s exam scores be improved moving forward?
There is no one certain technique to boost exam performance, but there are steps you can take at home to cultivate healthy study habits. Combined with some test prep, these approaches can make test day a less stressful experience for students overall.
1. Focus on executive skill development
In the past, we’ve written about the necessity of homework for children and ways to push youngsters to become more interested in their studies. When we think about NAEP scores and educational results in the future, the same considerations apply. Providing our students with the opportunity and means to apply their information and develop cognitive abilities is essential for progress. There are various types of learners, but certain essential executive abilities can benefit kids from elementary school through college.
However, it is also vital to consider the behaviors that occur during learning since they may be key to NAEP ratings for younger students. Children require immediate assistance with academic achievement due to a deficit in their capacity to concentrate and process information. Moreover, increasing executive skills such as working memory and cognitive flexibility is essential for their growth.
Memory in use and cognitive flexibility are required for goal-setting, problem-solving, reasoning, and other skills that benefit pupils. Regular cognitive games such as puzzles, learning new skills, and exercising existing skill sets can boost these functions. Additionally, parents and students can work together to improve their abilities and performance through frequent practice and exercise.
2. Ask more questions
With any standardized testing, one of the usual ideas you’ll read is asking more questions about different content areas. The word cognitive flexibility returns with this recommendation: the more questions you ask, the more reasoning and problem-solving skills your children will develop.
Homework and other study aids are not intended for memory but rather as an opportunity to ask questions and improve understanding. Creating meaningful discourse about schooling and what is being studied helps improve cognitive flexibility and helps youngsters retain information. This can also help pupils build stronger communication skills and more tangible ways to communicate themselves and their emotions.
3. Integrate evaluation and reflection
Inquiring is one method for fostering cognitive flexibility. Creating a space for contemplation and evaluation is a different method. For instance, encouraging youngsters to think about something they’ve read or to summarise what they’ve read might promote cognitive growth.
When children learn a new skill or are introduced to new concepts, they must reflect on the experience. As kids encounter new concepts and practice old skills, evaluating what they have done well and what needs improvement can aid in developing reasoning and goal-setting abilities.
4. Prioritize positive reinforcement
There is a great deal of pressure on children to return to a “regular” school routine, especially when they are at an age where they are attempting to determine what is normal. As kids strengthen their reading and other subject-area skills, positive reinforcement can be tremendously useful for minimizing test-season anxiety. Children need positive feedback and encouragement to feel confident in their school environment and maintain motivation.
Encouragement can take many forms, ranging from words of praise to hands-on projects and experiments that allow youngsters to see their learnings in action and explore their interests. Incorporating some form of positive reinforcement from an early age can help youngsters feel supported and encouraged. The type of encouragement will vary depending on the child’s interests and learning style.
5. Address challenging situations early on
Many youngsters have difficulty expressing themselves when they are struggling, particularly in crucial subjects like arithmetic and reading. This ultimately affects their test-taking confidence and aptitude.
Maintaining open communication with your child as they learn new concepts and strive to enhance their present comprehension will help you proactively identify areas in which your child may want further assistance. Tutoring can supplement their current study routine, allowing them to overcome obstacles at their own pace. Individual pupils who find it challenging to readjust to a fast-paced classroom atmosphere can benefit from tutoring, which allows children to explore on their own time.
Matic Academy offers tutoring choices, including private 1:1 sessions and on-demand programs in various areas, STEM and communication, for all types and styles of learners.
6. Make a place for higher-level development
As youngsters develop and mature, their current curriculum naturally becomes a learning priority. However, you can undertake numerous other projects to promote their learning and growth.
Developing children’s interests and hobbies on a deeper level outside of the classroom can aid in developing their cognitive skills and foster an environment where they enjoy studying. Improving long-term exam scores requires students to develop critical thinking abilities in various learning domains to adopt a complete approach to education. Whether it’s short courses before students return to school or private 1:1 lessons during the school year, student achievement based on their interests is crucial for instilling early learning habits.
7. Devote time to exam preparation
How you devote time to test preparation will vary depending on individual habits and available time. However, it can also entail practising a particular exam format for problem-solving skills and forming habits as a test-taker, such as how to solve problems and varied question types.
Although public schools provide tools, there is a clear advantage to continuing school districts’ work at home to assist pupils in feeling more confident on test day. In addition, children can take a variety of practice examinations, including a practice reading test and math test, depending on their grade level. The fact that there are fewer stakes can make children more comfortable with the test format and alleviate some of the anxiety associated with test day.
Standardized tests will always exist in some form, and test preparation can help kids feel more secure during testing season. Children in elementary, middle, and high school can all benefit from exam preparation, regardless of age group.
The shared advice can go a long way toward helping students create long-term study habits that will serve them well throughout their educational path. Test-taking is only one aspect of the student experience, but relating it to skill development and learning can improve it for students, parents, and educators.
Even though current exam scores may not portray the most optimistic picture, viewing them as a snapshot of the now rather than a predictor of the future is essential.
For parents, test scores are a means of understanding the current student experience and working to improve it in the future so that children have full access to and appreciation for available educational resources. Nurturing and developing study habits can result in a more fulfilling school experience and give children the tools and resources necessary for their personal and professional development as they mature.