Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Success is Not a Test Score

Even though I have devoted many blog posts to scoring high on standardized college admission tests, I don't believe that the success of a student hinges on that score.

Obviously, you want your student to do their best on a test and that is why I have recommended test prep in the form of understanding the test and helping a student do their best.  

With that being said, I had a reader ask me what to do when sibling scores are very different.

Now that is a very interesting question, and really, it has nothing to do with test prep, or teacher failure, or 'lazy' student.

It has everything to do with parental expectations.   

Let's be honest: most of us approach parenting with a one size fits all approach.  If we have two or more children we assume that whatever works in the parenting/teaching department with the first child will work with the rest of the children.

Hopefully you learned fairly quickly (like with the second child) that the 'one size fits all' parenting doesn't work.  

Personally, I learned that my discipline method didn't work, my teaching method didn't work, my napping schedule didn't work- basically nothing fit for the second child.

Remember:  the second child is not like the first.

Truthfully, if you have more than one child, none of them are exactly alike.  

I suspect, as a parent and a homeschooler, you discovered your child's learning style and their love language; you know what makes them tick.

But, sometimes, in some areas, you STILL think you have it figured out.  
Your first student does x+y+z to prepare for a standardized test and the results please you and their first choice college.

BAM!  You've got this testing thing in the bag.  You know how it works and now all your children will get great results.

So, your second student does x+y+z to prepare for a standardized test.  But, the results do not please you (or your college choice).  Now what? 

Do you throw up your hands in despair?

You need to tread carefully.  Do NOT make your child feel like a failure because they did not score as well as their sibling.  Even if you don't say it, they may already feel this way.  Even if you don't say it, they may sense it.

Success in not a test score.  It is not the end of the world if your student isn't accepted to your first choice college.  There are many good schools to consider.

Many students start at a junior college and transfer to the school of their choice later.  This is a very cost effective way to get a college education.  It does not mean a student isn't 'smart enough' to get into a four year school. 

Siblings compare themselves enough without the stress of thinking they need to live up to the highest test score in the family.

We emphasize ACT and SAT scores a little too much.

Redefine success for them.

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