Monday, May 23, 2011

What Standardized Tests Taught Me

Let me go on and say it- I HATE STANDARDIZED TESTS.  Or, at least I disagree with them. 

"Standardized".  To whose standards?  And who decides what children need to know and when they need to know it?  I would love to meet that person.  They must be exceptional.  Above standard if you will.

My children were given a nationally recognized standardized test a few months back.  Unlike when they were in public school, I did not make a huge deal over it.  Truth be known, other than a week or two learning how to fill in the answer bubbles, they had no other preparation.  The way I see it..if I am doing my job teaching, then it will reflect in the test.

When I got the results back, some things were surprising while others were no surprise at all. 

Biggest surprise-topics we never 'formally' studied my children excelled in.  (I.e., economics and earth/space science)  The science is something they love and read on their own accord.  The economics...I have no idea other than discussions we have around the house or at the store have actually sunk in their little brains.

Other big surprise- how can a third grader score to a seventh grade level on a subject?  Do they include seventh grade level questions on the test?  If can it be classified as a third grade test? 

My children did very well.  Of course they have areas where they need improvement...what child doesn't.

So, given the fact that my kids had little to no pre test preparation,  excelled in subjects that we never cracked a textbook on, and scored way above the grade level of the tests they were taking...why do public schools make SUCH a big deal over test scores?  If the teachers could just teach the kids, the kids would do fine on the tests.

Oh yeah, I remember.  Money.  Government involvement (because honestly...does the US government ever do things in a sensible, cost efficient and logical way? 

What this test taught ME was that in government run schools....there is much ado over test scores where there really shouldn't be at all.

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