National Merit Scholarship Program

You constantly hear about highly ranked athletes being recruited by colleges on full ride (tuition + all expenses) scholarships. So what about students who are academically competitive? Do they get any scholarships for attending college? The National Merit Scholarship (NMSC)program is one such program for students who achieve high scores in standardized tests. The eligibility to this program is based on PSAT scores. Read more about the program here.

Continue reading “National Merit Scholarship Program”

Spelling Bee in Iowa!

Spelling Bee contests are conducted at various locations in the state of Iowa by the Knights of Columbus organization. Children in grades 4 through 7 grades are eligible to participate in the competition. Check out their website here to find a location near you. The website also has wordlists for the different grade levels to practice. You can walk in and register your child at the venue just before the contest. The contest at Waukee will be held on February 10th, 12.30 pm at St.Bonafice Church.

I am old fashioned and believe that good spelling skills are important in improving a child’s writing and reading skills. Most schools do not include weekly word lists and spelling tests anymore. Contests like these are a good way to learn and practice whether it be the spelling bee contests or geography bee contests. Winning the first place in the competition is not everything. Kids develop confidence in facing large groups trying out different contests like these.

What is Algebra Readiness Testing?

Algebra Readiness  Test is given to eligible students in elementary school or middle school to test their ability to take more challenging mathematics coursework. Algebra Readiness  Test (a.k.a  Iowa Algebra Readiness Assessment,IARA in Iowa) is given to students who have scored high in NWEA/MAP testing, and  in state administered standardized tests like Iowa Assessments. IARA can be given to students as early as 4th grade or 5th grade (depending on the school district) to eligible students to place the them in secondary mathematics curriculum. Continue reading “What is Algebra Readiness Testing?”

Challenge Math Summer registration is now open!

Challenge Math is a great way to prevent summer learning loss of math skills for children in grades 2-6.  It is a very inexpensive way of brushing up your child’s math problem solving skills during summer. It takes very little time commitment and has flexible schedule. Check out their website.

Read more about Challenge Math on my previous post here.


ISU’s OPPTAG Summer Camps are open!

The applications for the summer camps at the Iowa State University’s OPPTAG, a program for the Talented and Gifted children from grades 3 through 11 are now open. It opened today, March 1st and a couple of the math camps are already full by the end of the day. Please check the eligibility requirements for each groups before you apply.

You can find more information on their website here. These camps are on the expensive side like most other college camps as I mentioned in my post for Belin Blank at the University of Iowa. Read here for similar programs in other states.

I do not have personal experiences or opinions to share about the OPPTAG camps. Both my children haven’t had a chance to attend them yet. So if you have any experiences to share about this camp or any other college camps, please leave a comment below or  you can reach me at .

Standardized tests in public schools

Many of the students who attend public schools in Iowa took Iowa Assessments (formerly known as ITBS) a couple of weeks back. If you have a third grader, this is the first time they took a standardized test administered by the state. Any test in which the same test is given in the same manner to all test takers, and graded in the same manner for everyone, is a standardized test. Continue reading “Standardized tests in public schools”