ADHD and test taking - FamilyEducation
ADHD and test taking
02/07/2008 at 15:49 PM

My nephew is 9 years old. He is currently taking med. for ADHD. His grades on average are 93% but he struggles in school. Homework is a nightmare. The school is conserned he will never be able to pass standardized testing. The teacher just says that shes tried everything she knows to help but it is out of her experience level. We don't know how to help him and are getting nowhere fast. Any ideas???

  It irritates me that the schools/teachers give the impression that standardized testing is about the ability of the child.  Standardized tests are designed to compare effectiveness of "educational interventions" (that is schools and teachers), not ability of the child.   

  Here is the short course on statistics.  If you have a "normal" population, one that has not had effective intervention, the scores will lie on a bell-shaped curve, lots of "C" grades, fewer (and equal numbers) of B and D grades, and even fewer (and equal numbers) of A and F grades.  If there has been good intervention there will be more high grades, fewer avereage grades, very few low grades.  The average will be       above average. 

   Ideas for him.  Forget grades.  Consistently ask the Three Questions, and make some activities (video games come to mind) dependent on the answers. 

Three Questions

1.  Did you turn things in complete and on time?

2.  Did you put in a good effort?

3.  What did you learn?


My husband says to tell the Jenna story.  When Jenna was in 3rd grade she came home from school all anxious about the test.  When Jenna is anxious, her brain shuts down.  In a genuine effort to help her do better, and thus benefit the school and the teacher, I told her that the test was not important at all and that she should just put down an answer to each question and move on.  I made sure she got good rest and a good breakfast (which is the most important thing you can do to prepare a child to succeed on a test) and sent her off.  When she came home that afternoon she told me that she figured out the correct answer to each question -- and deliberately filled in the wrong bubble!

   Can't win for losin'


I was not a great test taker either.  I learned in college that recall is strongest when you study in the enviroment in which you are going to take the test.  If you can't study in the exact environment, try to simulate it as close as possible regarding lighting, noise, seating, etc.  This along with my writing ability on papers helped me a great deal.  Now, with my daughter in First Grade, I found a few websites that also reference great techniques for homework, testing, etc.  The sites are, and  Also, there is a Youtube video called, "Animal Farm," which speaks volumes about schools and understanding our children's differences.  If you have a chance, look it up.  It sounds like your nephew is very bright and it would help if he can be better understood by those around him.  Number one is to focus on his strengths and find a few things that will motivate him for homework and relax him before he takes a test.