Across the country, millions of parents are getting their children’s score reports from new Common Core aligned tests. Here in California, for example, parents are receiving score reports that show their children’s performance on the new Smarter Balanced test.
Let’s say you’re the mother of Emily, a fictional sixth grader who took the fifth grade Smarter Balanced test last spring (called the CAASPP in California). The math portion of Emily’s score report looks like this:
As Emily’s mom, you’re concerned about Emily’s performance in math. What should you do to help Emily improve? It’s for you that we created our new GreatKids State Test Guide for Parents, currently available for all Smarter Balanced states and soon to be available in PARCC states.
Emily’s mom starts on the California landing page:
(State-customized landing pages are available for all Smarter Balanced states; see our Partner Toolkit for links.)
After choosing fifth grade, Emily’s mom chooses math:
First, she wants to learn about Problem Solving & Modeling/Data Analysis, one of the areas where Emily was below standard. What does Problem Solving really mean in fifth grade?
She can watch a GreatKids Milestone video that shows 5th graders demonstrating the kind of problem-solving skills measured by the test. (Click on the video to see what Emily’s mom sees.)
Then, Emily’s mom can see the most likely reasons her daughter did not meet the 5th grade Problem Solving & Modeling/Data Analysis standard:
If she wants, she can see the kind of problems that Smarter Balanced is using to assess her 5th grade daughter’s Problem Solving & Modeling/Data Analysis skills
Most important, she can learn simple, practical ways to help Emily get better at Problem Solving & Modeling/Data Analysis:
Funds for the development of the GreatKids State Test Guide for Parents have been provided by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Helmsley Charitable Trust, and Carnegie Corporation of New York.
The new Smarter Balanced and PARCC tests (and the Common Core standards which underlie them) are better aligned to the needs of learning in the 21st century than the old tests in California (and in other states). These new standards and tests cause anxiety for many parents who do not yet understand what has changed and how it will impact their child. At GreatSchools we believe that this moment of anxiety also represents an opportunity. We created the GreatKids State Test Guide for Parents to help parents understand the test results, what their children should be learning each year, and, most important, how they can help their children get more engaged in learning and improve their skills. We know parents are busy and that’s why the Guide does what no other resource for parent does: explains the test and standards in plain, specific language and shows parents simple, powerful ways they can help their children master the new standards through everyday actions.