Testing… testing

Our school district – in its wisdom – decided that the kindergarteners need to do a week of standardized testing.  This despite the fact that half the kids can’t read and the other half will be too distracted by picking their noses for the test to have any validity. Now, normally, I would just chalk this up to a colossal waste of time and resources.


The kindergarten teachers felt they needed to reassure the kids that testing is not a big deal.  For a week and a half before the actual testing begins.

Yes, they announced to the kids a week and a half ago that there would be testing.  They had the children practice using privacy folders, which are meant to curtail the wandering eyes.  They told them to be sure not to tire themselves out, eat a good breakfast, and get plenty of rest.

Now, if you want to make sure that my particular kindergartener does not get plenty of rest, the best possible way to do so is to inform him a week and a half before you start testing that he is going to be tested.

He began by telling me he would need to miss tae kwon do on testing week.  I got his teacher to talk to him and explain that physical activity is actually a good thing to engage in.  She told him that testing really is nothing to worry about.

I repeated the message, as did his therapist.  I even went so far as to explain to him that the testing was just there to help figure out if the teachers are teaching the material well.

Clearly, he was unconvinced.  He has been awake for hours every night, eyes wide open, staring at the ceiling.  He fell apart on a playdate.  He has been hideous to his mother and brother.

OK, that last one has nothing to do with the testing, but I wanted to complain about it anyway.

Testing starts this morning.  It will last a week.  On the one hand, I am thrilled to get started so it will be over with soon.  On the other hand, I know this is just the beginning of two decades of this shit, starting with the kindergarten tests in which they have to identify which picture is three o’clock and ending in cold sweats for months before the LSATs.

I wonder if he’ll need a privacy folder for the Bar Exam.

7 responses to “Testing… testing

  1. Testing can stress out teachers too. When my kids were in elementary school, one popular veteran teacher was caught “helping” the kids (4th graders) get the right answers on our state standardized test. She was granted a “medical leave” followed by retirement.

  2. Ugh. Seems there are more and more test days every year – worse, there are days missed because someone ELSE is taking an exam! I had one super-stressful child who panicked for several years until we found the right combination of things to help her deal with the trauma, her sister flew through exams with no fear at all where a little bit of worry might have been a good thing (say, inspiring her to crack a book now and then) and the third just sort of rides serenely over the whole thing, claiming he studies like mad (for ten minutes), sometimes failing miserably, sometimes acing the whole thing but never, never ever even breaking a sweat.

  3. Unless no one has told me (which is a possibility), we’ve had zero testing of that sort and first grade is almost over. I can’t imagine standardized tests in kindergarten…

  4. Wow. And this is to what purpose?

  5. Double, triple UGH. I have such strong opinions on this testing thing, especially in lower elem grades, but my rants don’t dismantle NCLB & I know that my family’s opted out of the testing game (for now) by having our guys in a progressive independent school that feels the same way about testing as we do…

    However, I feel for your guy– the anxiety, the sleeplessness. Please tell me what education policy maker think THIS is a good educational outcome for a five or six year old– all in the name of “academic rigor” or “accountability.”

  6. Poker Chick

    It’s awful. These kids shouldn’t get tested, then instead of actually teaching the teachers have to waste time on “test prep” it’s an awful cycle and not educating anyone. When will people learn?

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