**By George Scott * 281-818-7872**

**Project Director, Academic Equity Advocates * ghscott2050@aol.com**

In the prior column, there was a summarized description of diagnostic screening tests targeting 5th through 8th grades in English Language Reading, Grammar, and Comprehension as well as mathematics for the same grade levels.

These screening tests are available must be obtained by direct communication with AEA at the email address noted above.

The previous column gives you important background on each. Here are more details that give you greater insight into the use you can make of them to know more about the genuine grade level strengths and weaknesses of your child. The description of the ELA test is more detailed. It is described first. That is followed by a more summarized description of the math screening test.

There is no way in the world you are child will take either of these screening tests leaving you unaware of his/her academic strengths or deficiencies that will be prepare you to be a powerful advocate for your child. These tests will help you determine where you can most effectively target tutoring, extra work, or expectations from your child’s campus.

**THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE SCREENING TEST:**

There are 11 sections to the screening test that includes 100 questions.

The developer of the test is an extremely experienced classroom teacher with a record of 25 years teaching a full range of students from at-risk disadvantaged ones to those students in the 6th-9th grades who were academically advanced.

There is a “pull-out” version of the test designed for 5th graders. Otherwise, parents might consider having their 6th-8th grade children take the full test. 9th grade students should take the full test because any significant deficiencies are more critical for the student’s high school career and beyond.

There’s an answer key for the tests. There’s also advice that you should expect very high levels of correct answers. As part of the package, the different thresholds of performance your child achieves are evaluated in terms of the scope of need of remediation and and advancement.

This test evaluates very basic skills. There are no trick questions. When your child completes this test, you will have a very strong understanding of the genuine grade level skills sets that can guide your future decisions.

Here are the sections of the test:

**CAPITALIZATION:**There are 10 sentences that may or may not have more than one capitalization error. Students are asked to identify and write the words that need a capital letter.**APOSTROPHES IN POSSESSIVES:**There are nine phrases presented to the student. The student is asked to write the apostrophe in the ‘correct’ place.**GENERAL USE OF COMMA:**There are seven sentences provided. The student is asked to rewrite the sentence with the comma(s) in the right place or write that the sentence is correct.**PUNCTUATING TITLES:**(Multiple choice) Five sentences are provided. The student is asked to provide the correct answer among four multiple choice options.**COMMONLY MISSPELLED WORDS & HOMONYMS:**Nine sentences are provided each providing two or more potential answers to the correct answer. The student is asked to provide the correct homonym.**RUN-ON SENTENCES:**There is a total of 10 questions in this section. There are six sentences provided that may or may not be written correctly. The student is asked to identify which are correct and which are a run-on sentence. There are four run-on sentences provided in which the student is asked to write the complete sentence correctly.**SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT:**There are 10 sentences provided. The student is asked to write the correct verb that makes the sentence grammatically correct.**VERBS IN PAST AND PAST PARTICIPLE TENSES:**Nine sentences are provided. Each sentence has a verb shown in the present tense. The student is asked to write the correct verb form that makes the sentence grammatically correct.**COMPARISONS & DOUBLE NEGATIVES:**There are 9 total sentences in the section. Six of the questions ask the student to choose the correct word in the context of the sentence. (taller, tallest, most tall for example). There are three sentences provided that ask the student to write the correct word that is NOT a double negative in the context of the sentence.**SENTENCE COMBINING:**There are eight total questions in this section. There are four questions that each have two sentences. The student is asked to combine the two sentences into one correct sentence using specific conjunctions or a semicolon. There are four more questions with two sentences. The student is asked to combine the two sentences into one using a different set of conjunctions.**REVISING AND EDITING:**There are two separate reading passages provided with each sentence of each passage numbered. Each passage is followed with seven multiple choice questions asking the student to write the correct answer as to how certain sentences could be improved.

**THE MATH SCREENING TEST**

As noted in the previous column, the math standards that form the basis of every questions on this screening test were explicitly included in * The Educated Child, *which has been previously described.

As in the case of the ELA screening test, there is a 5th grade exam. AEA strongly suggests that parents give their students the full test – especially those that have completed the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades.

In the book, the authors identified explicit math specifications that students in each grade level should have mastered by the end of the grade. Our description here will give some examples to show you how the test was structured when it was written by a PhD statistician from Duke University and reviewed by a very experienced classroom teacher of math who actually wrote the 5th grade questions.

What follows are a few examples of the specifications as described by the authors of the book AND the actual problem on the test to reflect that specification. Multiple choice answers were minimized. Questions were written so that a calculator would not be needed to determine the answer. The specifications are in bold face.

**EXAMPLES: 5th Grade**

**Express simple ratios:**A recipe calls for 3 cups of rice and 9 cups of water. What is the ratio of rice to water written in the simplest form?**Multiply decimals:**What is 1.2 x 1.5?**Divide decimals by whole numbers**: What is 9.6/12?**Know associative property of addition:**Use the associative property of addition to write another sum equivalent to 4 +(10 + 5).

**EXAMPLES: 6th Grade**

**Solve basic equations using variables:**Solve 45 x X = 103.**Solve problems involving prime numbers:**List all prime numbers between 10 & 20.**Divide multidigit numbers without a calculator:**5,112/8 = ?**Find the volumes or missing dimensions of rectangular solids:**A rectangular prism has a volume of 960 cubic inches. If the prism’s width is 8 inches and its height is 50% more than width, what is the height?

**EXAMPLES: 7th Grade**

**Find the difference between two points that both lie on the x-axis or y-axis:**Find the difference between (-4,0) and (2,0)**Know and use formulas to find areas of plane figures:**Find the area of a parallelogram with a 16 inch base and 10 inch height.

**EXAMPLES: 8th Grade**

**Work with simple algebraic equations and expressions:**If 3x + 2 = y, and x = 4, then what is y?**Translate word problems into equations and solve them:**Write and solve an equation to determine the number that, when multiplied by 7 and subtracted from 25, gives the answer 4.

The test includes plotting on graphs and more.