Friday, March 20, 2009

Standardized Testing: As Much Fun As You Remember

For the past two weeks, my kids have been having standardized testing at school. TWO WEEKS of standardized tests. Why not just pull their toenails off with pliers and be done with it?

At Bug's second trimester conference this week, her third grade teacher handed Daddy Shortbread and I a sheet of paper with gaily colored apples, crayons, and school buses around the margin.

"I had the students write a letter to their parents about their experience taking the MEA test," she told us, "This is Bug's."

Dear Mom & Dad,
MEAs are soooooo not fun! Did you do them when you were in school? Probably not. I have to admit, the math section was easiest but both sections were pretty easy. Even though it's not as bad as Bear told me it would be, it isn't something to look forward to. The thing that really stinks is that we only get a calculator when we don't really need it and when we do need it, they aren't allowed.

She also shared with us a small piece Bug had written about trying to play ball with our cat but failing because the ball kept getting lost in Maisy's stomach fat.

Also an essay Bug wrote on My Favorite Toy, which described a game on her Nintendo DS in excruciating, three page detail. (Of course my kid had to pick a video game as her favorite toy, making me look like the Worst Mother Ever). I weakly mentioned that she doesn't play many video games once the weather turns nicer, but the teacher just smiled blandly at me, probably having heard that from hundreds of parents. (She doesn't! I swear!)

I guess I'd better step up my game around here, lest a certain short, judgmental writer decide to "share" anymore at school. Yikes.


Jen on the Edge said...

My mother and all of my siblings and their spouses are teachers. They've told me that teachers don't worry too much about what the kids say about home life when they're at school.

(Unless, of course, the child is talking about Bad Stuff that could involve social services, etc. Then, the teachers pay attention.)

Here in Virginia, the standardized tests are called the Standards of Learning. The SOL's. I am not kidding. They start in 3rd grade and the ENTIRE year is spent gearing up for that one week period in May. The student work on their "mad minutes" -- doing as many math problems in a minute as they can -- and other activities to help them know how to take the test.

We have spring break April 4-10. Upon the students' return, the next month will be spent in review for the SOL's. No new content will be taught. Once the tests are over in mid-May, the students spend the next three weeks doing pretty much nothing. With the 4 weeks of test prep, the week of testing, and the 3 weeks of nothing, that's nearly 25% of the school year wasted. All because of a test that doesn't really test what the students know.

Oh no, I'm not bitter.

(Oh, and sorry about writing a NOVEL in your comments.)

jenn said...

Man, don't even get me started on standardized testing. When I was teaching, between teaching the kids the test content, then how to take the test, then administering the test, you lost an easy month of teaching curriculum. Repeat two to three times per year. All for the purpose of having nice, shiny test scores to publish in the local newspaper. Grr.

Grandma said...

While we are naive on the subject of all this testing going on in our schools these days, the one thing we do know is that our
granddaughters "Rock!"

Plus, we once had the opportunity to witness our daughter-in-law's teaching skills with high school students and she also "Rocked!"

Anonymous said...

If or When you kids play up like think thay might be at one stage in there life .Like take them down to the homeless shelter.And show them to respect Not to take drink alchol and Drugs.And don't let them ride in with cars with Boys when thay get intrested in Boys .Good luck for when thay are teenages please show them choesing The right Freinds is one of the most importing things wile growing up.cheers From Newzealand love the photos you have a veary normel faimaly.