Traditional schools use tests as a way to determine a child’s comprehension of a topic. While written tests are the most common testing method, they aren’t the only way to determine comprehension of a subject. There are several alternative testing methods for math. If your kids struggle with pencil and paper tests, try one of these 5 methods:
5 Alternative Testing Methods for Math
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1. Oral Testing
In stead of working it out on paper, read the test to your child out loud and let them do the work in their head or talk through how to find the answer to the problem. This is great for those who stress with timed tests and paper/pencil speed drills as well. They often can get the answer correct, but the time it takes to get the answer from the brain onto the paper slows them down and frustrates them.
2. Speed Drills
If you’re testing your child’s ability to do simple math, speed drills can be a fun alternative testing method. Speed drills make it a competition with themselves. Make it feel like a game and see how many your child can get right in a set time and if they can beat their own record each time. You can use flash cards for this as well, and set aside the cards your child gets right and continue to test on the cards he missed. This is much more fun than sitting down to take a written test.
3. Board Games
Board games are another great way to test basic math skills. Chances are you even have some of these games in your collection. Monopoly, Yahtzee, Farkle, and even Rummikub all require math skills in order to play. Or Equate, a math equation game that is played similarly to Scrabble, but with math facts. What’s great about this is that your child will never know that you’re testing his math skills. He’ll simply think that you’re sitting down to play a game together.
Want to push them a bit further? Give them an assignment to create a game, rules, board (or cards) and all! You'll be amazed at how creative they can be!
4. “Shopping” or Budgeting
When trying to teach your child basic adding and subtracting of larger numbers, money math skills, or consumer math, setting up a store in your home is a great alternative testing method. Go to your local Dollar Tree and buy some inexpensive toys, stickers, coloring books, etc. Use some empty food boxes from the kitchen and some play money (which they can also create themselves) and you're in business! Your child can give each item in the store its own price sticker, and choose to be cashier or customer in turn.
Give her a set amount of money and do play different scenarios. For example, you could ask her what she can buy with $10.50 or ask that she use her money to buy as many items as possible. Give her a grocery list and a budget and see how she does. For older kids, you might actually have them plan the week's meals for the family, write out the ingredient list, make a shopping list for what you don't have on hand and do the shopping with the budgeted amount this week. There are so many ways you can be creative using this testing method.
5. Cooking or Baking
Last, but not least, cooking and baking are excellent ways to test math skills. Not only does collecting ingredients require math, but measuring ingredients requires math as well. Cooking and baking are great testing methods for fractions and measurement conversions. You can half or double a recipe to make it more challenging for your child, or ask them to re-write it in metric units to send to a missionary friend overseas.
Testing math knowledge and skills does not have to be boring. There are so many alternative testing methods for math testing that you can look for fun ways they can show that they've learned the material. Whether you test through playing board games or getting in the kitchen, I can guarantee that your child will find this new kind of test time much more enjoyable, and quite frankly, you probably will too. Enjoy those moments together, Friend. They'll be out of the house before you know it!