Monday, October 21, 2013

Standardized Testing

Standardized testing has problems. 

The first principal I worked under always had this to say about standardized testing (paraphrased):

If we teach kids how to think, if we teach them how analyze problems and material, they will do well on tests.

I agree largely with this, and not completely because standardized tests drive me crazy, and I think there is a skill or talent to taking them. I do not think standardized tests measure everything.

Most teachers believe standardized testing needs changed, and their passion falls between tweaking it and overhauling it.

I knew all this as a teacher, and thought I knew all about standardized testing.

I did not realize the other emotion I would feel about testing as a parent.

What I am shocked about is the amount of tests my first grader takes, an how he comes home tired. Sits on the couch, stares at the wall. Tired. Doesn't argue about bedtime.

Shocked.

He takes three large tests per year - fall, winter, spring. He is tired when he finishes these tests.

I don't prep him for these. I want to see his true abilities so I know what areas he needs more focus and what is working well.

I know his teachers appreciate this information as well. When we meet for conferences, teachers always explain how they are using the test results to address areas in the classroom.

I don't have the answer for these long tests, and obviously educators don't either.

I feel that as my kids travel though the public education system, I know what to expect.

I did not expect the shock I felt when I saw my son's exhaustion from taking these tests though.