Math Homework

I think this meme says it all – kids often feel reasonably on top of the work they are learning and studying in their everyday lessons, but then they sit down to do their test and every question seems a million times more difficult!

In fact, the most common question we have been asked by parents throughout our teaching careers is:

“My son/daughter seems to understand all the work done in class, they do their homework and you have written positive comments in his/her report, so why are their test results so bad?”

 

So why do some kids perform so poorly in assessments?

  • Many kids suffer from real test anxiety. They feel anxious at the thought of having to sit without any assistance or resources for an hour. They feel anxious about the time constraints and they feel very concerned about the impact each test will have on their results.

  • Most students don’t know how to revise for maths tests. In other subject areas there are lots of facts and ideas to memorise and apply. In maths test you have to choose and apply skills in questions and applications, many of which you have never seen before. Maths is all about practise, and while students have lots of opportunities to practise their skills, they also need to practise more difficult applications.

  • Students aren’t used to time pressure. The most conscientious students usually work solidly but slowly during class, and at home they stop every so often to check social media, watch a YouTube video or text a friend. They don’t have any practice at concentrating on one task for a solid 45 to 60 minutes.

  • There is a huge difference between doing homework and revising for tests. Homework requires you to apply what you’ve been learning for the past few days. Test revision requires you to recall, choose and apply what you’ve been learning over past few weeks and perhaps months. The usual resources don’t allow kids to practise this skill.

math test finished

As our current education system stands (and I don’t see this changing anytime soon), we assess performance in maths through exams and tests. Teachers and schools then use this information to allocate students to the class that best fits their needs. These classes can then determine which courses students can choose in their later years. It’s not perfect, and yes it can be limiting for students, but this is why it’s so important that parents help their kids get on top of their test anxiety and test preparation as early as possible.

As teachers Charlene and I could always diagnose why our students weren’t doing so well in their assessments, but we felt frustrated at not being able to provide parents with a good resource or enough assistance to help with this problem.

The need is so great, and it’s such a frustrating problem for parents and their kids, that we decided to put our efforts for our first premium resource into practice test papers. You can read more about what we have to offer and the reasoning behind the design of our product here.

We’re pretty proud of what we’ve created and we’d love for you to help us share it around by emailing this article to a friend or two who you think would benefit from this new resource.

Photo credit: Shurik_13 / Foter / CC BY-NC