“Test” can often feel like a bad word.  Upon hearing it, some may develop an emotional response.  Feelings of anxiety and stress can flood in, making it difficult to think of the subject matter being tested.  This isn’t exclusive to students; it can affect the parent as well.

Proper preparation for a test is the main component for helping both you and your student feel at ease.  The first step for preparation in the Math-U-See curriculum is ensuring both parent and student understands the purpose of the test. The intent of testing isn’t to stress anyone out, but to ensure that the student has achieved mastery in the learned concepts.

Mastery Matters

The Math-U-See program is built around mastery.  But, what is mastery? 

With the Math-U-See program, mastery is when your student understands and is proficient in a concept.  The lessons are designed to focus on a singular topic and the test ensures the student has mastered the topic before proceeding to the next topic.  This is important because too often in education teachers move one before the student has a firm grasp on the lesson. This results in issues later on, as the student struggles with more advanced concepts.  

”Test scores and measurements of achievement tell you where a student is, and which areas you can work more with your student.” 

If the student has mastered the concept, there should be no reason for them to be nervous.  The test will be the opportunity for your student to display what they’ve learned. If they do express nervousness going into a test, perhaps you should postpone and revisit the material.

Testing follows a sequential method

Testing a student’s knowledge in only one way isn’t beneficial long term.  Testing, as you may know, isn’t simply about what you know, but how you are able to solve problems. Tests can enhance a student’s critical thinking and analytical skills. With that in mind,
Math-U-See provides multiple types of tests.  The tests vary based on level but include lesson tests, unit exams, and final exams. Lesson tests may include open-ended or multiple choice questions.  

No matter the style of the test, studying will be the same process.  Math U See is built sequentially so that each concept builds upon the previously learned material.  Therefore if the student masters the material in each concept, they should move through the tests with ease.  That is precisely what the unit tests and final exams confirm. For a student to excel at these tests, it may involve revisiting previously learned concepts.  Practice may not make perfect, but it will make them very good at what they’ve learned.

Workbook practice is key

The student workbooks that are provided for each lesson through the Math-U-See program provides a chronological time capsule of your students learning.  When students revisit previous sections, they can review how they worked through problems and areas where they may have struggled.  It will all be there in print. As the parent you can review the book and look for areas of opportunity. Engage your student by asking them questions.

“Is there another way to solve this problem?” Or “Could you show me how you worked through this?” Understanding their frame of reference can help you “fill in the gap” in their struggle areas.

Next steps

If you’ve practiced the steps above but your student is still struggling with their tests, don’t panic.  Take a step back, and perhaps a break. There is the possibility that you have been progressing at your speed and not your student’s.  Reassess your expectations and listen to their needs. That’s the benefit of homeschooling your student. You have the time to focus on what they need to be successful, as that’s the ultimate goal.

You also might be working at the wrong level with your student. This is entirely possible, especially with most school systems being based on age - not ability. 

You can take our free Online Placement Test to determine your student's understanding of maths here:

Hope it helps,

The Team at Maths Australia

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