Spring has arrived, which means we’re already nearing the end of another school year in Arizona. It’s time again to measure what students have learned and whether they are on track and prepared for the next step in their education.

For some students, taking tests can be stressful and may involve emotions ranging from panic to apathy. Whether they’re worried or not, it is important your child is mentally and physically prepared for the test. Here are a few simple ways to alleviate test-related anxiety.

1. Talk to Your Child’s Teacher

Teachers are an excellent resource for details about the skills your child has been working on this school year and what support you can give your child at home to help him prepare for the test.

2. Reinforce Critical-Thinking Skills

Your child has been preparing for this test since the school year began. All of the projects, assignments and discussions have reinforced critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. However, you can reinforce those skills at home by reading with your child and asking her to talk about the central idea or theme of book or article. Ask her to explain something she has written. Have her explain the steps she took to solve a math problem.

3. Practice at Home

You can support your child by learning about the skills being assessed, as well as what sample test questions might look like and talking with him about it. If your child will be taking the test on a computer, it would useful to go through an online practice test to become more familiar with the content, types of questions, and the user interface that he will use to take the test.

4. Keep Track of Test Days

If you know when the tests are coming, you can make sure other activities are kept to a minimum. Ensure school takes priority over practices, appointments and trips.

5. Don’t Stress

Your stress can carry over to your child. By keeping your own stress levels down, you can help her succeed. Try to emphasize to your child that she doesn’t have to be perfect, and that you’ll support her no matter what.

Remember, AzMERIT and other standardized tests are not the finish line. They simply serve as check points along every child’s educational journey. With very few exceptions, test results should be used to determine areas of strength and weakness so students can monitor and adjust. Set goals for any skills that need work and celebrate when your child reaches each goal.

To learn more about the test and what your child needs to know to be successful, visit ExpectMoreArizona.org/AzMERIT.

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Posted by Expect More Arizona on Monday, March 21, 2016