Uplift Testing Coordinator Maria Yocom: Spring Testing In Bloom

Maria Yocom – Uplift Testing Coordinator

As the pollinated haze of spring break clears and Uplift scholars ease into the final quarter of the school year, state and federally mandated exams linger on the horizon like a spring shower. State and federally mandated tests are a governmental requirement but Uplift also uses these tests as part of the full picture of data to measure overall scholar growth.

Our English Language Learners started the Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS) test on Monday.  With four different sections, TELPAS measures the different components of a scholars English language ability.  Uplift’s ESL team uses TELPAS results to measure scholar progress toward college readiness while the state and federal government use the data to ensure our ESL scholars are gaining English proficiency at an acceptable level.

At the end of March and beginning of April, scholars in fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grades, as well as English 1 and English 2, will take the first round of STAAR and End of Course (EOC) tests.  While this may seem early, our fifth and eighth graders need to pass the STAAR for entry into middle and high school. This early distribution allows scholars the opportunity to retake the test if necessary.  In fourth and seventh grades, scholars have written portions that require additional lead-time due to the extra time they take to grade.

TELPAS, STAAR and EOC are important tests for scholars and the network, so how can parents help scholars do their best on these tests?

The week of the test:

  1. Make sure your scholar gets plenty of rest the night before a test – late night cramming actually hurts your ability to do well!
  2. Make sure your scholar gets a good breakfast. Just like a car, the brain needs fuel to work.
  3. Help reduce your scholar’s stress level. They can still do their chores, but it’s best not to add any other stress or distractions.
  4. Remind them to do their best!

If you’re planning ahead to the late April STAAR tests and May EOC tests, you can do even more.  Try these tips:

  1. For younger scholars, practice filling in small circles. This may seem silly, but it is a real obstacle for younger testers.
  2. Ask your scholar what they’re reading, and have them tell you about it – the characters, the main idea, what might happen next, why something happened in the story. Thinking about what they’re reading helps with comprehension, and you can’t practice it enough!
  3. Ask the teacher for study guides or other resources you can use at home.
  4. Turn reviewing into a game.
  5. Have your scholar teach you the things that will be tested. If they can’t, learn about it together.
  6. Find out if there are any additional review sessions happening at your school, and encourage your scholar to attend.

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