Tuesday, April 1, 2014

PostHeaderIcon Jenn: Test Away

This weeks trending topic on FB seems to be state testing.  Who is in and who is out.  I thought long and hard and weighed my options and talked to my husband before we made our decision.  We didn't include our daughter in the discussion because we didn't base it on any anxiety or issues she might have.  I never even considered refusing the test for my older children - state tests were something you took - no questions asked.  They both scored 4's on every test so it did not effect them at all.  No harm, no foul, test away.

Our decision for our youngest daughter was solely based on what will this test accomplish for my child?  This test was not created with the child taking it in mind.  This test was not created with the teachers administering it in mind.  This test was created by a for-profit company without enough (or any) vetting by the educators in the trenches.  Our teachers are our soldiers - they are the ones in the classroom day in and day out.  They are the champions of our children - some are better than others - but they show up every day and deal with a nightmare we now call education.  I am all for higher standards in the classroom.  I am all for "critical thinking" but I am also "all for" my child.  Asking her to take a test with a prediction that 60% of test takers will not meet standards, as in last years results, is not doing what is best for her.  It is setting her up to fail.  Asking her a question in which 2 or 3 of the answers are correct - but one is "more correct" is not doing what is best for her.  It is setting her up to fail.  My kids are lucky. They have fairly-well educated parents.  We both went to good universities - so we should be able to help them.  We can't.  An ELA sample test was sent home the other day which brought my child to tears. It made my daughter feel bad and "dumb" which in turn made me feel bad too.  It's not that it was too hard for her - it was the way it was written and the way the questions were asked.  It was convoluted.  It felt like you were being asked for answers that just weren't there.  I read it with her, we broke it down, I taught her about inference and assumption and reading between the lines.  She felt better and was able to complete the assignment.  Not all kids have that at home.  The math is a nightmare.  I have learned to teach my child "my" way which is the "wrong" way and then back it out so we can fit it into the common core way and still get the same answer.  My way takes 30 seconds - common core way takes 2 - 3 minutes.  In a world where time is of the essence - whose way is right? 

Last night in a long conversation with my 10th grader she told me all she wants to be a social studies teacher - but every single teacher she has or knows has told her NOT to do it.  To STAY AWAY from education and from teaching that its just not worth it. That common core and state testing removes all the joy and creativity out of being a teacher.  You are a robot in front of a classroom programed to spew out state mandates.   If everyone is warning our children not to teach who will we end up with?  Our schools are in crisis.  

Standing up for your child is a parental right.  It's not jumping on the bandwagon when it is a thought out process that reflects what your educational goals are for your child.  Some parents may refuse for the wrong reasons and some may send their child in to take the test without knowing all the facts.  We made what we feel is the right decision for our child.  That's all anyone can do. 


Anonymous said...

Well said, Jenn. The standardized tests are not what they used to be. They have become so inordinately unfair and I refuse to take part in it as a parent...As an educator, I feel like this whole Common Core is being crammed down our throats! Liam, too expressed his desire to be a teacher and I told him that he should explore other career paths.😞

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