“The Test”

As our kids grow older more is expected from them in life and in the classroom. It’s a gradual process, every year gets a little harder and teachers do a good job easing them through this.  By the time the child hits the 3rd grade, the child should be becoming a more strategic learner.    Shortly after winter break, both teachers and kids kick into overdrive.  This is all because of “The Test”.  Teachers embark on a type of review of the kids’  elementary career.

“The Test” is the Connecticut Mastery Test, or CMT,  administered to students in grades 3 through 8.  In elementary the CMT tests students in mathematics, reading comprehension and writing.  The CMT is graded on a scale from 1 to 5 in each area tested. On this scale, 5 is considered “Advanced,” 4 is considered “Goal,” 3 is considered “Proficient,” 2 is considered “Basic,” and 1 is considered “Below basic.”  The tests get shipped to Texas,  corrected and sent back to our school in the summer.   This allows next years teachers to get a better handle on what your child knows, before they get into the classroom.  Parents also receive the results sometime in the fall.  These results are important for a couple of reasons (but be assured the test has no effect on whether your child will be accepted to Yale!)

It does allow our schools to:

  • identify students who need extra help in reading, writing, mathematics and science;
  •  help schools and teachers identify weaknesses in their curriculum and improve instruction in those areas;
  • help you and your child’s teachers monitor your child’s achievement from grades 3 through 8; and
  • improve the accountability of the state’s educational system.

Here are some strategies to soothe your child’s nerves  as discussed at our recent PTA workshop.

  • Encourage your child to take their time by reading each question carefully. There is no rush and the kids will have more than enough time to finish the test.  Wrong answers are commonly caused by rushing through or misunderstanding what the question is asking.
  • Explain that is a way to measure what they already have learned, so they will do great.  Encourage positive thinking.
  • Suggest they think of the test as a “puzzle”  or a “riddle”.
  • If they are feeling scared suggest they think good thoughts such as how they felt after a super fun day at the amusement park with  friends.
  • The night before the test soothe their nerves by doing something fun, like playing a board game with them.
  • When you get the results, consider not sharing the specific details with your elementary child.  Once they are older you can re-evaluate how much to share.

The letter from school from Dr. Iwanicki-Smith shared this useful information as well:

  •  Show confidence in your child and be positive .
  • Make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep.
  • Make sure your child has a good breakfast.
  • Make sure your child arrives at school on time.
  • Speak with your child and enforce the importance of the tests.
  • Tell your child to take adequate time and do his or her best work.

Here is the schedule:

Mon.  March 5               DRP                              8:55-9:40
Tues.  March 6               Writing Prompt            8:55-9:40
Wed. March 7            Reading Comp. I               8:55-9:40
Thurs.  March 8           Reading Comp. II             8:55-9:40
Fri.  March 9                               make ups

Mon.  March 12         Editing and Revising       8:55-9:55
Tues.  March 13         Math 1                             8:55-9:55
Wed.  March 14          Math II                            8:55-9:55
Thurs.  March 15     supplemental testing         8:55-9:40
Fri.  March 16                  make ups
Mon.  March 19-21          make-ups

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