Regardless of how over or underprepared you might feel for a standardized test, bring it up amongst homeschoolers, and you are sure to elicit strong opinions! I would propose that standardized testing, while not the only standard of measure, can provide some excellent benefits to students and parents, not the least of which is scholarship money for colleges and universities! So what are some benefits of standardized testing?
First, early test taking can identify strengths and shore up areas of weakness by giving parents the information they need to adequately resource their kids. Early intervention can save both parents and kids years of heart-ache, as resources abound for learning disabilities, processing disorders, and gifted students.
A standardized test teaches student’s prioritization, not only in learning material but in test-taking strategies. While every standardized test is different, there are specific test-taking strategies that will benefit test takers across the board. Students who can triage and prioritize test information well will score better – not only on the test but in so many other situations as well!
As students practice tests that they are initially unfamiliar with, they will gain an understanding of what the test is asking for and the strategies required for it. They will also build fluency, speed, and accuracy if the test is approached with intention. Most tests have a test-taking strategy and learning to understand the particular strategy of the test will allow students to successfully take the test. For instance, memorizing instructions on the sub-sections of the ACT/ SAT will enable students to save time when they get to those sections. Test-taking wisdom decrees a limit of three times for the test taker to understand the test.
Practicing the skill of test-taking reduces test anxiety, allowing the student to score better. What exactly is test anxiety? It is a feeling of agitation or distress that negatively impacts a student’s ability to perform well on tests. While some stress may be normal, when approaching a standardized test, keeping the test taker alert. Too much test anxiety can cause physical or emotional distress and perhaps even concentration difficulties, negatively affecting the test takers ability to perform well.
Students with test anxiety will do better if they don’t go into the test cold. Familiarity and test strategies will ease the test takers anxiety, allowing them to score better overall. Not only that but mastering one’s fear in one area will resource students with the information they need to master anxiety in other situations as well.
Even 1 point higher on the ACT can result in up to $5,000 more per year in awarded tuition from the awarding school. Some schools will take the highest composite score of all tests taken, which can result in thousands of additional dollars granted. Mark Skoskiewica, founder of MyGuru explains how just 1 or 2 points higher in an individual area can result in thousands of dollars more in scholarship money. However, students should begin testing earlier than their spring of 11th grade or fall of 12th grade to have plenty of time to increase their test scores.
Did you know that True North Homeschool Academy offers a standardized testing program?
What’s so great about our program? First, it is a reliable, valid test that will meet state testing requirement guidelines. It will allow your student to take the test in the privacy of their own home. The test is also private and secure (no data mining- your student will not be tracked!) and allows them to take the test more than once during the testing cycle. Check out the Performance Series test today!