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Districts offer tips for test-taking students

<p>Close-up of a person writing in a book</p>

Close-up of a person writing in a book

How a student performs on standardized tests can come down to a few simple tips, such as getting adequate sleep and eating a good breakfast.

Starting Monday, students in third through eighth grades in School Districts 203 and 204 will be administered the Illinois Standards Achievement Test. The test is designed to assess the extent to which students are meeting the Illinois Learning Standards and determine whether the district and schools are maintaining Adequate Yearly Progress as mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act.

Students in third through eighth grades are tested in areas of reading and mathematics. A science assessment is given to students in fourth and seventh grades.

Parents can play a significant role in their students’ achievement on the test, and that’s why local principals and school administrators are reaching out to parents.

In a letter send to parents, Naperville District 203 principals urged families to make sure students attend school on the days of testing. That includes avoiding taking children out of school for doctor or dentist appointments.

Sleep the night before testing is important for thinking, and eight to 10 hours of rest is recommended, according to Patrick Nolten, executive director of assessment, research and valuation for Indian Prairie District 204.

Breakfast can be the most important meal of the day, and both District 203 and 204 urge parents to feed their children a healthy breakfast on ISAT test days. The Illinois State Board of Education advises that students eat a light meal, avoiding heavy foods that may make the child groggy, as well as staying away from high-sugar foods that may make a student hyper. Packing an extra snack for a mid-morning break also can give an added boost later.

What a student wears can affect testing. Nolten suggests students dress in comfortable clothing, but nothing so comfortable that they fall asleep.

Just as important are the conversations parents have with their children which can set the tone for high achievement.

Nolten said parents should reinforce the idea that their children should relax and do their best. District 203 suggests parents encourage kids not to worry because they are confident their children will perform well.

In addition, the ISBE urges parents to reinforce with their children about what to do while taking the test, including:

Paying attention to directions.

Asking questions about the directions if they are not clear.

Reading each question carefully.

Eliminating wrong answers right away, and then concentrating on remaining choices.

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