Susan Little, Chesterfield County School District’s Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, recently addressed the PASS scores for the 2011-2012 school year, which were released to parents last month.
“The test information is extremely important for parents to understand and discuss with their children,” said Little. “This information (below) gives a general overview of important facts about the PASS test as well as helpful hints for parents to use to help their children prepare for standardized testing.”
What is the PASS?
As mandated in Chapter 18, Title 59 of the 1978 Code, The Education Accountability Act was amended (May 2008) to provide for the development of a new statewide assessment program. The program, known as the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS), was first administered in the Spring of 2009. The PASS is administered to South Carolina public school students, including charter school students in grades three through eight in the Spring of each year. Results are released during the Summer to the school district and the districts send the information home to parents in the Fall.
What is the Purpose of the PASS Tests?
PASS test items measure student performance on the South Carolina Academic Standards. PASS test results are used for school, district, and federal (No Child Left Behind) accountability purposes.
When are the PASS Tests Administered?
The writing test is administered over two days in March, and the remainder of the PASS tests are administered in May.
Which Subjects and Grade Levels are Tested?
PASS includes tests in five subject areas: writing, English language arts (reading and research), mathematics, science, and social studies. For Spring 2013, all students in grades third through eighth will take the writing test, English language arts (ELA), and mathematics tests.
All students in grades fourth and seventh take both the science and social studies tests. Students in grades third, fifth, sixth and eighth take either the science or social studies test. Approximately half of the students in each of these grades are randomly assigned to take the PASS science test, the other half are assigned to take the social studies test in each of these grades (per school).
What Type of Items are on the PASS Tests?
The PASS writing test includes an extended-response item (Day one) and multiple-choice items (Day two). The extended-response item requires the student to write a composition on a given topic. Most of the multiple-choice items on the writing test are linked to editing passages.
All other PASS tests (ELA, mathematics, science, and social studies) contain multiple-choice items only. The multiple-choice items on the ELA test are linked to reading passages.
Tips on How to Help Your Child Prepare for Standardized Tests:
1. Assist your child with homework and ensuring that your child is completing all homework assignments.
2. Help your child to develop good study habits, thinking skills, and a positive attitude toward education.
3. Ensure that your child has good attendance in school.
4. Keep the communications lines open between you and your child.
5. Encourage your child to read as much as possible, and to increase his/her vocabulary – even reading magazines, newspapers, and comic books regularly to improve his/her reading skills.
6. Encourage your child to learn how to follow directions carefully.
7. Help your child in areas that are difficult for them. (If your child has struggled with a particular area or subject in the past, you may be able to help them overcome some of that difficulty by providing some extra practice.)
8. Give your child a chance to practice. (If your child has trouble taking tests, try practicing test questions and studying new words.)
9. Make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep and eats a healthy breakfast.
10. Staying calm will help your child stay calm. If he/she gets nervous about the test or is likely to experience anxiety during the test, help him/her practice some relaxation techniques that he/she can try once he/she’s taking the test.