Achievement Testing at the Lower School

From the desk of Sandra Fritcher, Lower School Principal:

Next week, September 11-15, Lower School students in 2nd through 5th grades will be taking the CTP 4 achievement test. This assessment will provide us with another source of information that is helpful in determining individual and group needs of our students. It also will help us assess levels of competence, as well as diagnose strengths and weaknesses.

What is the CTP 4 test? It is a rigorous assessment for high achieving students in academic areas including: reading, listening, vocabulary, writing and math. Verbal and quantitative reasoning skills are also assessed in grades 3-5. The CTP 4 helps compare content specific, curriculum-based performance to the more conceptual knowledge base that is found in reasoning tests. In other words, higher order thinking is a major component of this test.

Achievement tests are different from classroom tests. For example, many of the questions are expected to be too difficult for the average student. The tests are written by content specialists who understand what students are expected to learn in a school year, but also included will be questions that are not specific to the student’s assigned grade. The tests are also put together so that many test takers won’t finish within the time limit.

What can you do to help your child be ready for each test day? Three essential ingredients for successful test taking are a good night’s rest, eating a healthy breakfast and getting to school on time.

If your child is anxious about the test, a warm bath and read-aloud time can help take his or her mind off the test. A well-balanced breakfast will give him or her energy on test day. A good breakfast might include cereal with milk, or eggs and toast, plus fruit or juice. Remember that too much food can make your child sluggish. Testing will start soon after the tardy bell, so it is important for your child to be at school before the tardy bell.

Finishing an achievement test is a big accomplishment. Give your child plenty of time to relax and wind down. Taking the test requires a lot of mental energy! On Friday, consider treating your child to a special meal or activity. Remember that it is important to tell your child how proud you are of his hard work.

In a few weeks, you will receive a copy of your child’s scores from this test. When you do, talk to your child about areas where he or she did well, as well as any areas where he or she needs to work. Again, tell him how proud you are of his or her hard work.