Life Learning

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Ask the principal: Little things prepare children for tests

Sean Cottrell

Published 02/06/2014 | 02:30

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There are a number of steps students can take to make sure exams run smoothly.
There are a number of steps students can take to make sure exams run smoothly.

How can I help my daughter prepare for her reading and maths tests?

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YOU will be glad to know that you have been helping your daughter since the first day you read her a story while she turned the pages or when you asked her to put five knives and forks on the table.

While you may hear the term 'test' being used by other parents and children, the process is really an assessment.

Assessments in maths and reading are completely different to a test. There are two main purposes for assessing children in these two key areas of learning.

The first reason is to look at each child individually, checking to see if there is any child that is not making the progress that they should be for their age.

The assessments are investigations to find out more about each child so that between the class teacher and the learning support teacher they can provide extra teaching as required.

The second reason for the assessments is that the Department of Education establishes overall standards in second and fifth class across the country.

Twice in the primary school eight year cycle, the data from these assessments are sent to the Department.

It is important to note that the data sent by schools to the Department is anonymous – no child can be identified. The data is used for statistical purposes only.

The nature of the assessment makes it impossible to prepare for on a short term basis. Each year parents meet the teacher face to face to discuss children's progress.

The class teacher will more than likely give you the results of both the maths and reading assessments and will explain what the figures mean.

It is important to know that each child is not rated against other children in their class.

The results actually compare your child's progress in both areas according to the children of the exact same age right across the country.

The assessments are an essential tool for teachers who can sharpen the focus of their teaching based on their improved knowledge of the child.

Research points to many important factors which determine children's love for reading.

This passion for reading is greatest where children witness their parents reading on a regular basis.

Keep up the good work.

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