Diane Sasser | 4/22/2005 1:05:03 AM
Spring testing is a fact of life for Louisiana schoolchildren. With impending tests often comes stress experienced both by parents and the test-takers, says LSU AgCenter Family Development professor Dr. Diane Sasser.
With the help of the following tips, Sasser says you can ease your child’s and your own anxieties about the test process.
Get the facts.Find out the exact dates your child will be tested and which tests he will take this year. Typically, Louisiana schools administer the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (LEAP) and the Graduate Exit Examination (GEE) in spring. Check to see if the tests will be different in any way from the ones your child took the year before.
Once you know what's happening, you can help your child feel ready for what's ahead. The testing home page for the Louisiana Department of Education is www.doe.state.la.us./lde/ssa/testhome.html.
Talk to your child.Find out whether your child is feeling nervous and if so, why. Often children feel better when they voice their fears, so give your child a chance to talk about the process. If your child is afraid of failing or doing poorly, your reassurances will help him feel less frightened.
Help your child practice.If your child is familiar with the format of the test, he'll feel more prepared. Ask his teacher or check the Department of Education Web site for some sample questions or other materials that can help him get acquainted with the test. If you do a "search" on the department’s testing home page for "test sample" it will take you to sample tests for each grade level to which the LEAP tests are administered.
Take care of the basics.See that your child gets a good night's sleep the night before the test and eats breakfast that morning. Big tests require a lot of energy and stamina to be able to focus for several hours. Make sure your child gets at least eight to 10 hours of sleep the night before the test. Eating a hearty and healthy breakfast, including complex carbohydrates and protein, can make the energy last as long as possible. Foods such as eggs, cereal and whole-wheat toast help energize the brain to think more clearly and much longer compared with the fast-disappearing bolt of energy from drinking a soft drink or eating a cookie for breakfast.
Keep your cool.While tests have increasing importance, they are just one measure of student learning, so try to keep the process in perspective. If you remain calm, chances are your child will probably feel calmer, too.
If your child may be spending part of the testing time in another home such as grandparents or the other parent since many children have divorced parents, Sasser recommends that the same rules be followed in both households to give the child comfort in consistency. Talk this over with whomever the child may be staying. You can even request that the school give your child two of all papers to be sent home to provide both parents.
"Following these tips can help you and your child ‘de-stress’ before spring tests," the family expert says.
For information on related family and consumer topics, visit the FCS Web site at http://www.lsuagcenter.com/Inst/
Extension/Departments/fcs/. For local information and educational programs, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.
On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: www.lsuagcenter.com/Inst/
On the Internet: La Dept of Education: www.doe.state.la.us./lde/ssa/testhome.html
Source: Diane D. Sasser (225) 578-6701, or Dsasser@agcenter.lsu.edu