Your child has to take them, but could you pass the SOL tests?
RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) -
Depending on the school district, your child may be getting ready to begin the Standards of Learning (SOL) testing this morning.
The controversial tests have been the subject of many debates at the local and state level; ABC 8News asked the question: could adults answer questions on the SOL?
We gave five parents who all have students fifth grade SOL practice tests.
In Virginia Studies, questions including: "Which geographic region of Virginia has many rolling hills and waterfalls"?
The answer: Piedmont. All five parents got it wrong.
We gave them math questions too. That included fractions, angles and, of course, the classic word problem.
"Michael has a total of 10 pies to serve. This table shows the amounts of pie Michael has already served. Which mixed number represents the total amount of pie Michael has left to serve?
Again, all the parents got the question wrong.
"The math, I think it made me want my head to explode sometimes," says parent Laura Bowman. "It was kind of frustrating. I kind of rushed through it and guessed on a lot of things."
We also gave them a reading test - a combination of multiple choice, drag and drop and fill in the blank questions.
One parent failed the reading. Two failed Virginia studies. And two failed math - with one right on the edge.
Most of the parents weren't shocked.
"It's a challenging test," says parent Michael Harig.
"I'm not surprised," says parent Tammy Caldwell. "I was trying to go back to high school."
"Folks expect their experience to be the experience of their child and school today and the expectation on the children's today is absolutely nowhere near where it is when we went to school," says Ben Williams, Roanoke Co. Associate Director of Testing and Remediation. "Now it's about application. It's about critical thinking. It's not about just learning… memorization… how to do an equation…it's about how to apply the equation and fit it into a real life situation."
This makes it sometimes difficult for parents to keep up.
"Now I see this and I'm like, 'if I'm having trouble with this, I don't know how he's going to have difficulties with.' It will either be extra time at school or a tutor and it's just less time to focus on being a kid and the way we grew up. We all took standardized tests, but they weren't this extreme," Caldwell says.
Williams suggests if you notice your child is having trouble with the content, be in constant contact with the teachers. They can walk you through their approach and you can work together to come up with a strategy.
WEIGH IN: What are your thoughts on the SOL tests? How does your child handle the testing, and what do you do to help them prepare? Leave a comment here, or join the conversation on the ABC 8News Facebook page.