Many of you, like myself, may be dealing with a child who has NJ ASK testing this month. I’ve got one taking it this week and the other next week. I think every family has a different approach to these tests. Some families seem to be very relaxed and feel that the children will perform as they would and the scores will not impact their education. Others, especially many Asian families I’ve encountered, believe that these are the first of many tests that will determine their rank and success. These include all the Tiger moms (who of course are not all Asian) that make their kids study for weeks before the ASK tests. They put a lot of pressure on the kids to do well.
I think I’m somewhere in between in my approach. I am guilty of buying some workbooks but am not very strict on having them completed. I think of the workbooks as a review tool to remind my boys what topics will be covered and what type of questions to expect. I feel this might be helpful for my third grader who has never seen the test before. As for my older son, his teacher reminded me that if they need a workbook then he hasn’t been doing his job as a teacher. That was great to hear since I have faith in this teacher but I can’t be sure that every teacher my kids encounter will be as good. For that reason, I don’t think there is anything wrong with a little review work at home sometimes.
On the other hand, I don’t want to put too much pressure on my kids since they will have to deal with all that when they are in high school. At this point, they are learning the tools they need to do well, including good study habits and focus. I still want them to be carefree and enjoy their childhoods. I also believe that they should be relaxed during the week of the testing so they can think clearly. I’m not saying they should play video games all week but playing outside, a little TV and reading seem like good ideas. They should also sleep on time and eat properly so that hunger and fatigue are not keeping them from performing well. I was impressed that our schools were handing out a snack each morning to make sure no kid was hungry during the testing. Glad to see that the administration really cares for our kids too. Good luck to all the kids for their ASK testing!