California State Standardized Test Help and Prep Information

The California Standards Test (CST) is administered every year in language arts and math to students in grades 2-11 living in California. Students in selected grades are additionally required to take science, social studies or writing assessments. Read on for more information about the CST test and how to help prepare your child.

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Released CST Questions from the California Department of Education

The website for the California Department of Education offers released test questions from previous years that can be printed out and administered to your child. Practice questions can help your child prepare for the CST because he'll know what to expect when he takes the actual test. The practice questions are arranged by subject and grade level, so you can easily find exactly what your child needs. You can also find information on the modified versions, such as the Spanish-based standards test or the California Alternate Performance Assessment, which is intended for students with disabilities.

Each practice test provides an outline of the types of questions and how many there are on the test. For instance, the second grade English and language arts exam has a total of 65 multiple-choice questions that test word analysis, comprehension, literary analysis and writing strategies. Answer keys are included at the end of each practice test. Look out for any patterns in the questions that your child gets wrong, so you'll know what to review before the test day.

Teacher Guides for the California Standards Writing Test

If your child must take either the fourth or seventh grade writing test, use the teacher guides from previous years for test preparation. Read the introduction to discover what is expected of your child. For instance, the focus of the fourth grade writing assessment is on story structure (having a beginning, middle and end) and clarity. Go over the writing prompts and give your child time to write responses. Then, review the sample responses and commentary that are provided for each of the score points, so you can compare your child's work with these pre-graded assessments.

Colorin Colorado's Preparation Tips

If you're not sure how you can further help your child to prepare for the upcoming CST, then review this helpful advice from Colorin Colorado. Taking tests can be intimidating for some students because of the time limit and the range of answer choices. Review the preparation strategies together, like getting enough sleep, eating a good breakfast and practicing calming techniques, and use them so that your child is relaxed and confident on the test day.

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