Back to School or Back to Standardized Tests?

 

Well today was the first day of school for my boys and I am happy! I know that some kids don’t generally share that same feeling, but I thought that my youngest might just a little. His summer wasn’t quite the normal due to there not being any kids for him to play with at home. After camp ended there wasn’t much play time with his peers so I was certain he would be happy to get back to his friends at school. I asked him Saturday if he was happy about returning to school and his response was “No, because I’ve never taken the STAAR test”.

 

The STAAR test is the standardized test given here in Texas. It broke my heart to hear my 8 yr old even thinking about a test of this nature. The test isn’t even administered until the late spring, but theyhave embedded into our children so much. Is that all that school has become now? A test that is given once a year in certain grades, is now the holy grail for students. Instead of going to school to learn, is the focus now greater on preparing to take these tests? Are all of the life lessons, education, character building, etc being clouded by test preparation? School for me was so much more than those standardized tests. If anything, those Friday spelling tests gave me life! When did this change happen?

 

And let’s be honest, it’s really not just the students who are nervous or even afraid. The teachers and principals are as well. Teachers seek out this profession because they want to teach. They want to reach these young hearts and minds, help mold them into wonderful human beings. They want to help prepare for life, not standardized tests. There was a survey done by the National Education Association that showed nearly half of teachers considering changing careers due to these tests. http://neatoday.org/2014/11/02/nea-survey-nearly-half-of-teachers-consider-leaving-profession-due-to-standardized-testing-2/.

 

I thought about ways I could make this easier or better for him, but they all seemed to go right along with making the test the main focus of his 3rd grade life. In school they’re going to pound him with it, then I would do the same at home. Continuously talking to him about it, consistently giving him prep tests and on and on. No, while some is fine, I’m not okay with having to make this his life. It’s bad enough that his school year will most likely be solely focused on it, I however can not support that at home. I’m going to continue to nurture and teach him, while instilling in him that he is not a test score. Here’s to him having a great and fun 3rd grade year!

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