Those damn standardized tests

Someone lied to my child that she’ll otherwise flunk third grade, and this caused her undue stress, which really ticked me off.

There’s a columnist for the Metroland weekly newspaper, Miriam Axel-Lute, who wrote on her Facebook page the middle of last month: “Good luck to all the parents and kids who are refusing this crazy high stakes testing tomorrow. Stand strong.” My daughter had been stressing over these same tests, but I was unaware of this “opt-out” thing. I replied, “Damn test is ticking me off.” She then asked me and a few others: “Would you guys talk to a Metroland reporter about this? I’m going to be opinionated about it in my column next week, but I think they are also interested in maybe doing a reported news story.” Another guy said likewise, adding “Albany schools get enough unwarranted BS, and removing my kids from the mix will cause more.” True enough; if fewer than 95% of the kids take the test, the school could be taken over by the state, as I understand it.

This is how busy I am lately: I received a Google Alert on April 25 based on ‘Roger Green’. Usually, it’s some OTHER Roger Green, but in this case, it was the story for which I was interviewed by phone the previous week. Also in that issue: Miriam’s column on opting out.

I hope it’s clear that I believe my daughter would/will probably do well on the test. It’s just that someone lied to my child that she’ll otherwise flunk third grade, and this caused her undue stress, which really ticked me off. We HAVEN’T opted to opt out – yet – because it’s unclear what it would mean to my child. Would she sit in the classroom silently for 70 minutes at a time while others take the test? Would there be some type of retribution against her? Indeed, after the fact, I worried about participating in the article.

Also, my wife’s teaching schedule – she’s an iterant teacher of English as a Second Language – has been mightily disrupted. If I thought the end was worth it, I wouldn’t complain. But this No Child Left Behind/Race To the Top stuff, to my mind, is bogus.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

4 thoughts on “Those damn standardized tests”

  1. The standardized test “thing” we have going on here in the US is part of a culture of “A little bit is good??? Then a giant PILE is AWESOME!!!”

    In Europe, periodic standardized tests helped develop many education programs. However, as far as I know, most seem to have one or two big tests in elementary school and then a battery at the end of high school. None of this every year crap, which doesn’t tell you anything anyways.

    But what do I know? I’m an NSF-created monstrosity whose only skill is standardized tests. (Not even a joke… I should post about it…)

  2. Obviously I’m not familiar with the specifics of the educational arrangements in the US, but I recognise the general trend of putting undue stress on our children. I have no objection to tests per se – they are a useful gauge of progress for both teacher and parent – but having so much riding on the outcome of one particular test seems crazy at such a young age.

  3. I’m not familiar with these tests anymore since my kids are grown. I do remember Missouri’s MAPP tests and, of course, there’s the SATs and ACTs for high school. And, for graduate studies, there’s always the GRE to be accepted into the programs. So, I guess there will always be some sort of testing required to determine if anything was learned!

  4. Truth is, I wasn’t taught certain parts of grammar in school and was, in fact, incorrectly taught the “John and I vs John and me” rule. I was literally taught “You say John and I because it’s more polite and sounds more dignified.” I realised some time ago that my education was lacking and instead of just saying “Oh well, no one taught me!” I applied myself to learning the rules I’d missed. There is plenty of internet sources and books to learn from and the majority of the rules only took me a few minutes to understand and remember. The saddest thing I heard was that, when tested recently, a significant proportion of English teachers failed a basic grammar test. It’s kids that weren’t taught proper grammar teaching incorrect grammar and it’s depressing.

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