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Topic Archives: Standardized Tests & Test Taking

A Smarter Way to Improve ACT/SAT Test Scores

January 19, 2017

Here’s one true thing you will rarely hear from test prep tutors, “All the strategies and practice in the world won’t help if you don’t know how your child learns best.” If your child’s scores don’t match your reasonable expectations, it’s highly likely that there’s something in his test-taking approach that is holding him back. And more often than not, it’s something that he can’t articulate and your tutor won’t figure out by just watching him. The traditional test prep approach is to identify the types of problems where the student makes mistakes. Then tutors either (a) re-teach the skills that should have been learned in school and/or (b) give tons and tons of similar practice problems and hope that the actual test… Read More

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The Hidden Value in High-Stakes Tests

October 10, 2016

by Mindprint Staff Yes it’s easy to question if there’s any real value to standardized tests, especially if you have a stressed out teen studying for the ACT. High-stakes admissions tests aside, there is plenty of value in standardized tests IF we use them in the right way. The unfortunate reality is they are more often used for inclusion/exclusion or passing judgment rather than identifying how we can help kids succeed. Here’s what we can and should do to change that, one child at a time. The Classic Under-Achiever. Do you have a kid who does well on standardized tests but can’t seem to perform in class? Let’s unlock that potential! Start with the understanding that every kid wants to succeed, no one does well on tests by… Read More

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Back-to-School Essential Reads

August 16, 2016

Re-engaging after a long summer vacation can be tough. So tough that students often need to spend the first month of school reviewing the last two months of the previous school year. Adults are no different. So, today we share with you the most important things that your summer brain might have missed or forgotten. These reads will get you ready to make this the best school year yet. A Parent’s Guide to the First Six Weeks  A primer for parents to ensure a good transition. How to Crush School  Review of new book for middle and high school students by teacher Oskar Cymermann. Teaches teens to develop study skills for school and life success. The Forgetting Curve Learning is a different skill from remembering,… Read More

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Let’s Not Forget the Forgetting Curve

April 6, 2016

by Mindprint Staff   We are all familiar with the concept of the learning curve. We know that when it’s steep, learning is a challenge. When it’s shallow, the learning comes easily. When we talk about students being smart, we are really saying that they have a shallow learning curve in the subject, or they are quick to understand. Most schooling focuses on getting all students up the curve, testing them to be sure they made it, and then moving on to the next topic. But in reality, learning doesn’t stop with understanding. Deep learning encompasses understanding, storing, and recalling the information as needed for problem solving. If students know their facts or strategies and then forget, they need to struggle right back up the learning curve when they need… Read More

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Beating Test Anxiety

January 11, 2016

by Mindprint Staff Undoubtedly, many bright students struggle with a bad case of test anxiety. When it comes to a big exam or standardized test, these capable students never seem to do their best. Rather than the positive adrenaline a little bit of stress can provide, they end up with a full rush of hormones that interferes with their ability to think clearly, access their memory and demonstrate their full capabilities. Fortunately, understanding and addressing the root cause of a child’s test anxiety can break that cycle– And instead launch the much sought after virtuous cycle of greater self-confidence and improved performance. Our child psychologists tell us that most children’s struggles can be stripped down to a few underlying causes. The trick is to figure out which one is the cause… Read More

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Empowering Parents: A Premature Arrival

October 30, 2015

Edited by Mindprint Staff In this story, Beth, mother of 8 year old Talya, describes why she used Mindprint Learning to calm her lingering concerns about her daughter who was born prematurely.  (Editor’s note: To protect the privacy of the child, Beth and Talya are not their real names.) Talya is very bright, but moves notoriously slowly in many ways. She was born very early so I was concerned that there might be learning disabilities that we hadn’t seen show up yet, or the school hadn’t noticed, but lingered beneath her sweet exterior. Talya had a range of services provided when she was little, including occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy. She worked so hard and was placed out of… Read More

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Learn Something New Everyday: Cognitive March Madness

March 22, 2015

By Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff We’ve had an exciting week on this blog, with a team of bloggers joining me in our drive to “learn something new everyday.” Can you imagine if the energy and money that went into sports commentary were put towards educational programs, or if we had a 24-hour cable network with the pizzazz of ESPN devoted to the issues parents cope with in raising kids? In case you missed it, here’s a recap of what we’ve featured this week.   1. Benefits of Music for Children with Attention Issues This well-received post was written by Nicole Davies with follow-up commentary by a Mindprint Learning educator with years of experience teaching special education.       2. All… Read More

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Do they shed tears with those timed math quizzes? Here’s help.

January 30, 2015

Never The First to Finish: Why Pace Matters By Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff.  This post originally appeared on the Getting Smart website as part of a series of blogs written by parents called, “Smart Parents.” Remember how it felt to be halfway through a math quiz and a classmate gets up and turns it in to the teacher? Maybe that other student rushed, or maybe he or she just happened to be super speedy. Either way, I always came to the same conclusion: I’m just never going to be that fast. Years have passed since I’ve had to take a math quiz. As an adult, I’m comfortable with my own strengths and weaknesses and the time it takes me to do… Read More

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Know Your Child: Processing Speed

November 3, 2014

If grades, performance on standardized state tests, and anecdotal observations about your child’s behavior aren’t getting to the heart of your concerns or curiosities about how your child learns, this series on cognitive skills is exactly what you’re looking for. In the shoes of a child with a processing speed weakness The child whose only weakness is processing speed can feel like she is constantly living the fable of the tortoise and the hare. Given the time to listen, understand, and react, this child can excel. But trying to race to the finish is probably not an option for this child. Depending on the child’s personality, he may be completely comfortable with his slower pace, though he may want to… Read More

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We Don’t Make a Lot of Noise: The pushback is the new thing that’s happening

April 19, 2014

By Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff Why are these children protesting in front of their school? Oh, wait—their parents are there, too. And their teachers. And their principal? One of them was Brooklyn mother, Jody Alperin. She has a first and fourth grader in PS10, a school that draws students from Park Slope, Windsor Terrace and Greenwood Heights. Why were she and her kids expressing their discontent with the recent round of state language arts (ELA) tests? She’s not against all forms of testing. She’s not against standards.  But she had expected that after last year’s experimental first round—the first to be aligned with what has been a problematic rollout of Common Core standards—this year’s state tests would reflect improvements. By… Read More

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