Creative Child

4 Ways You Can Help Your Child Take an Assessment at Home

by Marikate Wilson

When you first hear the term “diagnostic assessment” coming from your child’s school or teacher, you might think: “Great. Here is ONE MORE THING for me to navigate as we figure out the whole virtual school thing.” Fortunately, among the many lessons learned this spring are some great tips to help you help your child through these tests, which aren’t like the tests you may be used to. It’s also important to understand why these assessments are important for a successful school year. 

So, what is a diagnostic assessment?

Students take these assessments or tests at the beginning of the school year to show the teacher their strengths and areas in need of growth. This helps the teacher make sound instructional decisions.

Assessing at home is challenging regardless of the test or provider, but when you are confident about your role, it can ensure your child’s teachers get the quality data they need to target instruction. Below are simple things you can do to make the process of taking a diagnostic assessment at home go smoothly.

Help by not helping

Unlike tests given for grades, assessments to inform teachers about instruction need to focus just as much on what your child is ready to learn (or doesn’t know yet) as what they do know. Some diagnostic assessments use technology to tailor the test to your child’s individualized learning. Every child who takes the test—even those in the same grade—may get different questions. It may seem off-putting to parents, and frustrating for the child, but these types of tests are designed so your child will only get about half of the questions correct. And that’s okay. That’s how teachers figure out both what your child knows and what they still need to learn. If you help your child when they get frustrated, you are skewing the data making it an inaccurate representation of your child’s strengths and needs.

Assessment companies are creating informative websites and videos to help address the family’s role in helping your child take the assessment. An example of this is the Family Center for the i-Ready Diagnostic. This is a great place to start to understand your role in administering the assessment at home.

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