Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Is This Why We Test?

We have had a good couple of years at Pleasanton on our state assessments, in fact we have had the highest scores we have ever had. We all have walked around with our chests out and being very proud of our accomplishments, including myself. Now for the reality.

Our 4th grade teachers have started their classes blogging and it has been fun and reflective plus they love doing it. Whenever possible I respond to each student. One of our teachers asked the question of how the students felt about the upcoming state assessments. Their responses nearly floored me.

I never read so much fear, anxiety, and apprehension in kids. I made a group response and told them that they would be adequately prepared, and to just do the best they can and who cares anyway. They are our kids, we love them and their success or failure has nothing to do with test scores. I just couldn't believe that the two words "state assessment" would strike such a response in 4th graders. By the way the teacher puts no pressure on these kids, and echoed my sentiments in a group response.

Is our goal to strike fear in these kids, I don't think so. It almost broke my heart when I read their answers, and made me question "is this why we test?" No kid should feel that type of pressure, especially in the 4th grade. So you can chalk me up as one who is now opposed to this ridiculous practice in name of educational excellence.

1 comment:

  1. Great reflection. I have good students that have really bad test anxieties on small things like spelling tests. While people often say they "don't put pressure" on the students to perform on the HS tests, it is obvious by the amount of time and attention they spend talking about them they are lying.

    You are absolutely right, these students gain nothing from these tests except sleepless nights, fear, and anxiety. If we conducted experiments on students that created these emotions we would be considered monsters.