Saturday, November 24, 2007

Valuable Opportunity for Elementary Parents

I received this email earlier this week and wanted to share it with every elementary school parent I can find!

The MATS test -- the Midwest Academic Talent Search -- is an outstanding opportunity for you to allow your child to participate in an "above grade-level" test.

Per the website, MATS is, "a program that offers above-grade-level testing to bright students. MATS provides students and parents with assessment and counseling tools that enable them to make wiser academic decisions about courses to take and paths to choose."

It is essentially the ACT Explore test, which is normally administered to 8th graders. But they will allow children as early as 3rd grade to take it.

Obviously there is much on the test that a third grader will not know, but this is one of the benefits because it really allows how much they know and understand, rather than trying to determine their skill level based on acing test after test in school.

Here are a few of the FAQ's from the website:

What is the EXPLORE test?
The EXPLORE is a paper-and-pencil test. It is a multiple-choice format that was developed for 8th graders to measure educational achievement in English, mathematics, reading, and science. It is an appropriate test for talented 3rd to 6th graders. The English test measures understanding of standard written English and rhetorical skills. The mathematics test measures mathematical reasoning. The reading test measures reading comprehension, and the science test measures developed scientific reasoning skills.

Why should I take the EXPLORE test?
Not every student should take the EXPLORE test. MATS uses this challenging test because it is more appropriate for academically talented students in grades 3 to 6 than standardized tests designed for their age group. Qualified students who take the EXPLORE test will get a more detailed picture of their true abilities. In addition, taking the EXPLORE test allows students a “practice run” to become familiar with the test format which many high schools are using as entrance exams.

The test results have help us to monitor our daughter's development in an objective and independent manner. We have found this particularly valuable given that the school really doesn't provide any objective data, and the MEAP is largely irrelevant.

Plus, she now has experience in taking a long assessment, and has no apprehension about sitting down for a 3-hour test.

Some districts encourage this test by notifying parents. In Troy, for example, the Assessment department reviews MEAP scores as well as scores from other standardized tests they administer in elementary, such as the IOWA, to identify students that might benefit from taking the test. They then notify parents of this opportunity.

Sadly, Rochester does not do this.

==> Mike.


Dear MATS participant and family,

Test again through MATS and reap two benefits: increase your test-taking confidence and better track and understand how much you have grown academically since the last time you took the test.

Registration is easy. Go to http://www.ctd.northwestern.eduand click the link on the top right hand side, Register now for the 2008 MATS….

Testing dates are as follows:
EXPLORE (grades 3 to 6), January 26 or February 23, 2008
ACT (grades 6 to 9), February 9, 2008
SAT (grades 6 to 8), January 26, 2008

Give yourself a chance to do even better in school by signing up today to take a MATS-sponsored test again. Register TODAY to increase the possibility of testing at your first-or second-choice test center. Test centers do fill up!

If you have already registered for this year's MATS, please forward this reminder to a friend.

1 comment:

Steven A. Kovacs said...


I recall that you asked about MATS last year at the Board table. Did you not receive a reply from Administration, or did the majority deem your request as to much of a strain on the Superintendent?

I guess there is no harm in asking again, except that you may embarass someone.


Steven A. Kovacs
Your Fellow Board Member