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An introduction to the South Carolina PASS testing

FRIDAY, JANUARY 29, 2016 13:02 PM

If you have children attending school in South Carolina, you may have heard of the South Carolina Palmetto Assessment of State Standards. You likely know your kids have to take these tests and maybe schools administer the exams, but do you know why students must participate? Read on to learn more:

SCPASS format 
All students in 4th through 8th grade must take a version of the SCPASS. The South Carolina Department of Education noted that students who are normally assessed against alternate standards may take the South Carolina Alternate Assessments instead. These include those who require special education assistance or are on an individualized education plan. All students take social studies and science SCPASS tests. As of spring 2016, the exams are available in an online format. Individual students or schools can request to test in a paper format if necessary. On the tests, students will answer multiple-choice questions. Those who use the online version will also encounter technology-enhanced answers, like selecting an option from a drop-down list, choosing multiple selections for the same question or entering a number. 

Daily preparation
As the SCDOE shared, the SCPASS tests students to ensure they are at the right learning standard for their grade levels. Teachers base their entire year's worth of planning around educating students on the topics the children must know to excel on the SCPASS. Students' regular grades do not affect their standardized testing scores, but they may be a clear indication of how they will do on the exams. Those who earn high marks in social studies and science will likely do well on the SCPASS. Parents should view their children's grades and offer assistance, such as tutoring or extra time with the teacher, if the students aren't doing well in a subject. Also, make sure your kids finish all daily homework assignments, assessments and bigger projects, as the information learned on these activities may appear on the SCPASS.

The importance of practice tests
To help your children prepare for the standardized exams, have them try practice tests. These online quizzes offer a look into what your kids may see on the real SCPASS. Trying out the tests beforehand can reduce exam anxiety and show your children what areas they may need to concentrate on studying before the SCPASS. It's also useful in making the leap between paper testing and the online version. Students can familiarize themselves with the drop-down answer options and other technology-enhanced answering methods.