Teachers are required to test students’ knowledge and skills in various ways (written assignments, oral responses, other forms of activity such as projects). On the basis of these forms, the teacher gives a summative grade at the end of the six-month or school year. The grades on the certificate matter, and the older the child, the bigger, because they can decide whether to enter their dream school or study program. Exams, tests, cards … – how to support your child?
Building an atmosphere of support
A friendly and safe development environment for a child strengthens cognitive curiosity, encourages them to experiment and experience the world in various ways. Facing responsibility is part of a child’s development. Various types of tests can be an opportunity to strengthen good self-esteem, face failures, and look for ways to remedy school problems. Checking knowledge does not have to be an unpleasant experience for the child or the parent.
The thing is what we expect. Expectations that are too high for a child and constantly communicating to him or her dissatisfaction with the level of knowledge or skills will discourage efforts rather than motivate them. Support will be provided by all conversations about what is a big part of a child’s life – about the school, peers, and also about how to prepare for a test or test. If the parent observes difficulties, he or she may seek help at school or at a psychological and pedagogical counseling center. But it’s a good idea to start by teaching your child to be systematic at work.
Rules of preparation for checking knowledge and skills
From the beginning of education (as early as possible), together with the child, we should develop a system of preparing for lessons.
- Homework is done on a regular basis, on the day on which they were assigned. The day before, it is enough to take a peek and repeat what was done in the lesson and in the task.
- Preparation for the test should be based on the guidelines provided by the teacher. He should give them before each verification work. If this is not there, you have to reprimand yourself at school. Today, teachers often use the e-journal system for this. There should be specific guidelines for what the child should know, understand, and be able to apply, but sometimes the information provided by the teacher is a chapter
You can then try to plan the child’s learning yourself:
- What does the child need to know? For example, know the definition of a phenomenon (say: crystallization).
- What is he to understand? For example, be able to explain how crystallization occurs, e.g. based on experience.
- What exercises should he be able to do? For example, re-solve the tasks from the lesson on crystallization.
- In what context should this knowledge and skills be embedded? For example, be able to identify situations other than in the experience in which this crystallization takes place.
- Preparation for the test should begin with the child’s afternoon work. After that, do homework. In the end, it would be good to go back to the guidelines developed (or given by the teacher) and repeat them briefly.
- If the child asks for help (most often: Ask me!), This should be a priority for the parent. Of course, life writes its scenarios, we can’t always drop everything and run to the child’s room, but even then we can give the child a message: I know it’s important for you, I will come in 5 minutes! Or: When we finish the repeat with Kasia, I’ll come to you! You can also arrange in advance that after you finish your homework, you will repeat the test issues together.
For students, issues related to checking and assessing knowledge and skills are extremely important. So when we meet after the lessons are finished, the question should be asked if the child is satisfied with what he wrote (replied, did …). The question posed in this way emphasizes the child’s autonomy, communicates to him that it is the most important for us, not the degree that what matters is his well-being after the work is done, that we appreciate his effort regardless of the results. The versions of the answer can be very different:
Only three! – The disappointment in the child’s voice is probably very clear, so let him hear: I can see that you feel disappointed with such a degree. If we start the conversation like this, we have a chance to hear not only the child’s profession but also his plans as to what he will do with it.
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I got five! – Success! Most often we emphasize Bravo! Congratulations to you! I’m so proud of you! – but this is the child’s success, he should be proud of himself so that he would want to work for himself once again, and not for reward or punishment. So maybe it’s better: I can see that you are very happy! Joy emanates from you! You can be proud of yourself! You’ve been working hard for the five!
I worried unnecessarily, it was easy … The child’s profession is that he put in too much effort, which he felt was unnecessary. In this situation, it is good to start a conversation about the usefulness of knowledge in life. I see that you have a sense of wasted time … And what do you think, can what you learned with such effort be useful later? What can you use it for?
I think it will be okay … Such an attitude of the child suggests that he cannot judge his skills. It will be important to think together about how it can predict work outcomes using teacher indicators. Tell me about the test. What were the questions? How did you deal with them?
After each written test, the teacher should provide the student with feedback in which he emphasizes what is done right, highlights what needs to be improved, and points to sources that can be of help. If the work is very well written, the student should receive tips on how to develop in this area (e.g. the teacher shows him literature or a website with interesting material on the subject). For many students, the teacher comments are not interesting as they focus on the degree. If it’s positive, they often don’t even read the feedback. The parent can change this by analyzing such feedback together with the child and thus motivating the child to e.g. improve a test or test. Let’s go back to the earlier situations:
- I can see you feel disappointed in such a degree. What did you say in the commentary?
- She wrote that I know and understand the definition, but I have to practice tasks with the content of the book. If I practice them and do them in extracurricular activities, I can have at least four.
- Would you like to exercise with me too?
- I will go to these extracurricular activities on Wednesday.
- I can see that you are very happy! You can be proud of yourself! What’s up in the comment?
- The lady wrote that if I would like to use these English verbs even better, she recommends a website on the Internet, where there are interesting exercises for verbs.
- It might be interesting, what do you think?
- I’ll see you later. For now, I want to enjoy five!
I worried unnecessarily, it was easy …
- I see that you have a sense of wasted time … And what do you think, can what you learned with such effort may be useful later? What can you use it for?
- In your comment, you wrote that I mastered these issues very well, so maybe I would like to go a step further and prepare the project. He even gave a website where there are interesting projects with a description of how to do them.
- Do you feel like it?
- Maybe it would actually be interesting!
Testing work is usually associated with a child’s strong emotions. No matter what the expectation of a child’s success maybe, the test atmosphere is tough. It is good to support your child not only by helping to organize the preparation itself (for the younger ones) or by “polling” (for the older ones, if they want to), but most of all by building a good home atmosphere in which the child knows that his effort is appreciated (regardless of the result) that we will support him at every stage (in preparation, in analyzing feedback, also when it is necessary to improve his work) that he is loved regardless of the results achieved at school.