It’s the beginning of the year, most parents will be purchasing assessment books or school papers along with textbooks. Choosing the right assessment books will definitely help pupils to revise new concepts and vocabulary taught in school but if you just buy what looks “good” to you, not only will you be wasting money, there will not be any improvements shown.
Before we share more on how to choose the suitable ones, let’s clear a common misconception first.
Misconception: The more difficult the assessment book, the better it is.
No doubt we need to challenge pupils every now and then. However, if they cannot read >30% of the words, they will not be able to attempt the questions. Some assessment books for Primary 5/6 that we have browsed in Popular contain passages found in secondary school textbooks or news articles from Lianhe Zaobao meant for adults to read. This is like asking a crawling baby to start running the next day.
Tip #1: Know your weakness before you hit the stores
Take a closer look at the most recent major exam paper (mid-year or end-of-year) attempted. If pupils are getting many multiple choice questions (MCQ) wrong, they are most likely struggling with the vocabulary from tested topics. If this is the case, an assessment book with topical MCQs will be more suitable as it helps pupils to revise the vocabulary after every topic. Pupils should also focus on getting their school weekly spelling right to see improvements.
Most pupils will find that comprehension (graphic stimulus & written) is the part where they need to improve on. Go for assessment books that focus on comprehension practices.
Tip #2: Avoid assessment books that have too many news articles.
News articles are no longer in trend after the examination format changed in 2017. Even when it was previously used, school teachers also carefully select short news (1-3 paragraphs) that are relevant to primary school pupils. Comprehension passages nowadays are steered towards stories that teach moral values like perseverance, respect, responsibility etc. Browse the copies carefully before purchasing.
Tip #3: Comfortable font size and spacing for writing answers.
School teachers usually use font size 14 for upper primary and size 16 for middle and lower primary. You may refer to school worksheets for a rough gauge. If the font size and spacing in between lines are too small, it would be difficult for pupils to locate the answers.
Assessment books and practices should be used with guidance for maximum effect.
There is really no point in purchasing assessment books when pupils do for the sake of doing. We have come across parents who assign their children a few pages to do, then try to mark but could only do so for the MCQ sections. In order for pupils to see improvement in comprehension, they need to master techniques to help them locate parts of the passages and turn them into answers. When pupils make mistakes, they need to know the reason behind it.
Need help to improve comprehension? Click here to purchase our video lessons where we provide step by step guide on locating the correct parts of the passages and converting them into answers by mastering simple techniques that can be used for any comprehension practices.