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How Can I Help My Child Prepare for Testing? Talk about testing as being another part of learning and encourage your child to do his/her best. Praise your child for things he/she does well. Children who feel good about themselves tend to do their best. Share an enthusiasm for reading, solving puzzles and discovery with your child. Encourage critical thinking and inquiry on a regular basis. Ask your child to explain, compare, describe or answer why. Have your child get a good night’s sleep and eat a nutritious, proteinfilled breakfast prior to testing. Ask for the teacher to suggest activities for you and your child to do at home to help prepare for tests. Parents and teachers should work together to benefit students. Reassure your child that test scores are not perfect measures of what he/ she can do and that he/she will not be judged on a single test score.

How Do I Access My Child’s Results?

Some of your child’s assessment results can be viewed online via the Skyward Family Access system. Go to If you need assistance logging in to your account, please contact your school’s secretary.

What if I Have More Questions? Talk to your teacher, principal or contact Executive Director of Student Achievement and Strategic Alignment Joni Olson at

Parents’ Guide to Assessment

320.253.9333 1000 44th Ave N, St. Cloud, MN

St. Cloud Area School District 742

What is Assessment?

Why the Need for Assessment?

Assessment, or testing, tells us what students know and are able to do. Assessment is structured to a specific purpose with measurable results.

Assessment is an integral part of your child’s learning process. It provides valuable information on how he/she is progressing on specific skills and toward state standards.

Formative assessment is ongoing assessment within the classroom used to help teachers adjust their instructional strategies. It answers the question: what comes next? for a student. Benchmark assessment is periodic testing that is diagnostic in nature and monitors student progress. It is used to identify strengths and gaps in curriculum and instruction. Summative assessment is broad-scale assessment that comes at the end of an instructional period, often annually, and is used comparatively to identify trends over time and measure progress toward state standards.

Assessments are conducted in a variety of ways. It may be 1 to 1 interaction such as reading to a teacher, group work, pen and paper assessment or assessments via a 1 to 1 device or computer.

How Does My Child Benefit from Assessment? Assessments are purposefully given to help determine if your child is attaining the skills necessary for his/her future success in education and the workforce. It can predict future performance and/ or determine future needs for your child. Assessment helps us to identify if he/she would benefit from additional services and ensure appropriate placement.

Why is it Important that My Child Participates? In addition to improving instruction, your child’s assessment participation is also important to your school as a whole. Some results are used to determine school and district accountability, which are used in turn to help identify schools that need additional support, as well as to recognize schools that are demonstrating high performance. If students do not participate in the assessments, the data for the district and school may be inaccurate.

How is Assessment Data Used?

District 742 educators analyze data and assessment results as part of a data team to bring about greater learning for students, teachers and administrators.

How are Assessments Administered?

Assessment data helps identify gaps in order to inform instruction. The data gives a useful framework that teachers, schools and the district can use to design curriculum, instructional strategies and professional development. Our educators analyze data and results as part of data teams and at data retreats. Groups and events such as these help to bring about greater learning for students, teachers and administrators.

What Assessments do Students in 742 Take? Assessments are administered at all levels of learning, Pre-K through high school. Throughout your child’s education, he/she will take a variety of assessments depending on the grade he/she is in. Such assessments include the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA), STAR, EXPLORE, PLAN and ACT, as well as a variety of formative/classroom assessments. For a complete overview of assessments within District 742, visit our website at

Parents' Guide to Assessment Tri-Fold (English)