2005-03-10 / Other News

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I’ve heard that the SAT is changing. What are the major differences, and where can I find out how to help my child prepare?

The SAT is changing in March. Some changes include a student written essay and the elimination of analogies. To find out more details about the changes, speak to your child’s guidance counselor.

Now that the test will include a writing component, you can count on SAT prep programs adding a writing prep component that will help prepare your child. However, if you choose to send your child to an SAT prep course, get all the details ahead of time such as cost, including materials, and the dates and times of meetings. It might also be wise to check for endorsements or other proof of the test prep class’s efficacy.

A quick search on the Internet under “SAT” resulted in many web sites that include information on courses and books for sale. Your child can even take an SAT prep course over the In-ternet for a fee. Some sites offer a “SAT test question a day” to be e-mail-ed everyday.

You may also want to discuss the changes with your daughter’s English and/or social studies teacher. Chances are your daughter has written many essays so far this year for these classes, so these teachers can give you sound information on your daughter’s being prepared to write a test essay.

How do I find out about summer school in my district? I know that my fourth-grade son will probably have to attend summer school this summer because his report card has been so poor, but it’s already March and I haven’t heard any details about summer programs yet.

You should contact your son’s classroom teacher or the main office to get the particulars. Your son’s teacher will be able to tell you if it looks as though your son will have to attend summer school. March and April are the months that teachers start looking ahead to see who might need to attend summer school. Decisions are usually made in May or June.

The principal’s office or perhaps the guidance department can tell you when summer school starts and the particulars of the dates and times. School calendars are decided upon months in advance and there’s a good chance that the dates for summer school have been set and appear on the school calendar. This information may help you plan your summer appropriately for you and your family.

It’s also not too late to discover the reasons why your son is doing so poor-ly in school. Is it possible that he has some learning difficulties that are not being addressed? Set up a conference with the teacher to isolate specific difficulties; then make a firm plan about how to address the situation.

Don’t forget that there are things that you can do now to help your child achieve in school. Be sure that his homework is finished completely every night and that he’s preparing properly for tests and quizzes. He should be reading a book outside of what he’s reading in school, even if you have to be reading along with him. Summer school is one good option to help your son catch up with his peers, but don’t lose track of all the other options you have help him succeed.

Send questions to: Answers from the Teacher, P.O. Box 54, South Egremont, MA 01258. Questions may also be e-mailed to answersfromtheteacher@adelphia.net.

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