How to Explain a Standardized Test to Parents


Standardized tests, such as academic achievement tests and intelligence tests, are an unavoidable part of modern education. All students will take standardized tests at some point in their academic careers. Most teachers will find themselves in the position of explaining the tests and the results to parents. Specific information will obviously depend upon the particular tests and the child's performance. The explanation should take place at a scheduled face-to-face conference with the family.

Things You'll Need

  • Copy of test results
  • Copy of the raw test data
  • Parent brochure from test company (if available)
  • Paper or conference form (for notes)
  • Child's permanent record

Before the Meeting

  • Send the family a copy of the test results if possible so they can familiarize themselves with the testing results and report.

  • Send a copy of the testing company's parent brochures for the test if one is provided.

  • Send a letter to schedule a conference to discuss the evaluation results. Include a section or page the family can return to confirm or reschedule the conference time and date.

  • Call the family to verify the conference schedule if the confirmation page or section is not returned.

  • Notify all professionals involved with the student or the testing of the time and date of the scheduled conference so they can be present to share information.

Conducting the Conference

Explanation of Test Results

  • Explain why the test was administered to the student. For example, it is a test all fourth graders must take, or the student has experienced difficulty with math, or the child has trouble with fine motor tasks.

  • Tell the name of the assessment instrument and who administered the test.

  • Show parents the test results. Explain what each score in each area indicates. If needed, have the individual who administered the test explain the test items in detail.

  • Ask parents for input regarding how representative they feel the assessment is of the child's typical performance. Teachers should also share their perceptions.

  • Clarify how the test results will be used. Will these results be recorded on the permanent record? Will they be used to place the child in an intervention program? Will they be used for future monitoring of progress?

Tips & Warnings

  • Read the notes you have taken aloud at the end of the conference to be sure of accuracy.
  • Be sure the test data matches the information you give to parents and professionals.

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  • Photo Credit taking test image by Petro Feketa from
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