My STEM Units

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Resources for Parents

Chances are, you live in a state that will be taking a digital test this coming spring.  While this news brings a smile to some faces, it strikes terror in others.  Namely parents.

Educational organizations are quick to claim "partnerships with all stakeholders", including parents.  Yet, the reality is, some parents are left in the dark when it comes to the Big Stakes Test.

Let's change that.

First, let's have a conversation.  

Teachers and administrators have access to email newsletters with current information.  Parents don't.  It is the responsibility of the educational institution to share that knowledge with the people who have a large influence on the students; the families.

The Arizona Department of Education has a section of their website dedicated to just this purpose.  Click here to be directed to Arizona's new assessment page: AzMERIT.

Second, let them see the test.  

Let them TAKE the test!  All three major assessments (PARCC, Smarter Balanced, and AzMERIT) have online sample tests.  They might not be an entire test, but the few questions they do have offer students (and parents) a glimpse of what the real test will look like.  For a list of resources for Arizona, click here.
Digital Testing Requires Digital Learning
Digital Learning Day, Every Day
The New Digital Assessment
PARCC Sample Test Answers and Rationale

Third, give them resources.  

Yes, parents can go online to these assessors (PARCC, Smarter Balanced, and AzMERIT) and read a FAQ page.  Some even have a flyer for parents.  But, I'm talking about real resources.  Resources that parents can start using today.  "How do I help my child at home?"  "What should we be doing to prep for this?"

I have prepared a "cheat sheet" for parents at my school.  I didn't want it to get lost in the mountain of paperwork, so I printed it on business cards.  I provided resources for Math on one side and resources for ELA on the other side.  Which resources did I include?


I also provided prompts that parents could use to ask their children about their work.  


  • What was your strategy?
  • Is there another way to solve that?
  • What evidence did you find?
  • How does that compare to ___ (another text)?

I selected these resources because this is what we use at our school.  What do you use at your school?  Use those resources on your "cheat sheet" for parents.  

I would love to hear how you are preparing students for the new digital assessment.  Comment below or contact me via the links on the sidebar.

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