Here's what I would like to say to their parents.
"Your child has spent 12 years in school learning to read, write, and solve problems. Now he has 8 weeks to prepare for the SATs. In 8 weeks I can:
- Teach him strategies to improve his accuracy and avoid careless mistakes so his test scores will reflect his actual abilities.
- Review math concepts he hasn't used for a while and may have forgotten.
- Show him how to write the specific type of essay that the essay graders are looking for.
- Review and/or teach grammar rules.
- Provide your child with a college level vocabulary.
- Greatly increase your child's critical reading ability.
- Increase your child's math problem solving ability to the point where he can see a problem and determine the simplest way to find the information he needs to solve it.
Somehow, I don't think that conversation would go over well. But hopefully, your child is still in elementary school and you have plenty of time to prepare! Does this mean I advocate spending 12 years "teaching to the test"? Absolutely not! However, I do advocate spending 12 years helping your child prepare to be an articulate adult who reads critically and solves difficult problems. Starting tomorrow, I'll help you out with a series of posts demonstrating how to build these skills in children. No flash cards or bubble tests necessary!