Wednesday, April 1, 2009

State Testing

This has been a very stressful month in our household. It started with my third grader going ballistic about having to take state mandated reading tests, math was just fine, but reading was a totally different story. The child did not simply cry, whine, or fake illness, he screaming, cried, hung on to me, and went into a fit of hysterics when it was time to get on the bus. Since he did not get on the bus, I drove him to school. When I tried to pull him from the car, he entered into a fit, the likes of which I have never seen! He was beyond reason.

This happened twice in a week.

While I refuse to let my child get away with such behavior, I still have to wonder how much emphasis was placed on the test in school. When I teach third grade and come upon the yearly exams, I have the kids set up "offices." We move desks into private locations in the classroom and I allow the kids to bring in a few pictures to place on their desks. We talk about the fact that the state wants to make sure kids are learning. Since they can't come sit in our classroom to hear the kids read, watch the kids to math, reading their writing workshop pieces, and so on, they use this test. My pep talk includes something like... "It is time for you to show all of the exciting things you know!"

I know my child has entered into a "contol" period where he is trying to see just how much he can control, test, and push. Another thing that I am absolutely certain about is that my child's halo is held up by horns. I am just wondering how the testing environment is "set up" in his school. I will find out next year when I return to third grade I suppose.

High stakes testing, right or wrong, is a sign of the times.

Do I want to do away with testing completely? No. The concept is a very good one.

Would I like to see their value put into a different perspective? Yes. Data is important, however, it is one piece of the puzzle that determines a child's progress.

Ok, rant over. If you have any cool tips or tricks to help relieve test anxiety for your students or own children, please share.

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