I don’t have answers because I haven’t been in the situation where both kids took the test at the same time and one scored better than the other.
But maybe a little reassurance: my oldest took the PSAT last year at the local high school and did worse than I expected. I mean, we had done no prep and he hadn’t yet studied some of the math, but I expected him to just naturally get a touch higher than he had. I started to worry just a tiny bit. The only goal for him to take the test was to have practice working in a new location surrounded by strangers...but of course I wanted to see him do well naturally. But the score was very meh.
Fast forward to this year (10th), and still with no prep, I sent him to the school to take the PSAT, still not officially caring about the score, but sending him only to give him practice in sitting in a room with strangers filling out bubbles. This time around, he got a score that was 110 points higher than the last time. I was very pleased. It’s not what I would want him to have as a final score once he takes the test for real with another year of math completed and some test prep, but I could see that taking the test in 9th and maturing a bit had helped.
All that to say that sometimes they just flub the test the first time around because it’s a new situation and they feel a bit stressed or they misread the questions because they know they’re timed or they get sloppy or they get fatigued. I agree with others that some people just naturally know how to test well and don’t even know why they can. There could be so many reasons why the younger did better than the older due to so many factors.
For this first time around, I would do my best not to offically worry about the score, though part of you will worry anyway, because that’s how we are as homeschooling parents. Absolutely go over the questions together to see what happened, but do your best to keep this light and happy so you don’t worry the student. You don’t want her getting test anxiety. Let her know it’s normal to improve with subsequent takings. I would *not* use the words, “It’s usual to get a lower score than expected the first time.” I would use a more positive spin, “It’s usual to improve your score after you get the first practice or two under your belt.” If she knows her sister’s score and is worried that something is wrong with her, I‘d say, “Isn’t that crazy how that works!? These test score are always a little nutty the first time or two you take them. You just never know what will happen! But that’s why we get a few practice ones out of the way before taking it for real.”
Edited by Garga, 22 January 2018 - 02:20 AM.