Tag Archives: standardized testing

A rail against standardized testing pre-K and Kindergarten

I’ve been reading a lot about the push to test pre-K kids. We already have standardized tests for kindergarten and first grade. All I can think is pre-K kids should be taught not to hit each other just because someone takes your toy, not to wipe your snotty hand in your neighbor’s eye and to (please!!!) wash your hands after you potty. It seems like pre-K would be about learning and story telling and using real words and fun NOT bubbling. In kindergarten I played a lot. I learned about “stranger danger.” My kindergarten teacher would’ve actually liked standardized testing, I figure. She threw my color page away because I colored the people purple. She told me people weren’t purple. I tried to explain about the purple people eater, but she still tossed the paper. I think she might be running the show over at Pearson these days. In first grade I learned to sing the National Anthem, Yankee Doodle Dandy and Oh Susannah. I also learned how to read, but not until late. I was the only one in my class in Minnesota not reading. A test didn’t tell my teacher that I couldn’t read. A book did. And she didn’t test me to get me to read. She taught me to read using vocabulary and phonics. As far as standardized tests go, in elementary and junior high we had a national norm test. I sucked at math and rocked the reading and writing. Senior year we were a test for the exit level exams that were to come, but those tests were about making sure you didn’t graduate if you didn’t have a basic skill set. I wonder what’s wrong with all these politicians that they keep buying into the idea that testing babies is a good idea? I mean they made it to political office. They get a great pay check and great insurance. They learned to share, to be polite (okay, maybe not), to keep snotty hands out of their friends’ eyes and (hopefully) how to wash their hands after they paid a visit to the potty. They might have even colored purple people for purple people eaters. They read and they are usually eloquent speakers. They made it through the gauntlet of higher ed, often with advanced degrees. Most are my age or older, which means they did all this without testing, and they did it all successfully. Does anyone else wonder about this?

 

RIP The Week That Was Wasted

Dear students,The anti-education
I’m sorry. I’m sorry we wasted your time this week. Sorry you had to sit and wait and wait and wait while your peers finished the exam that takes everything else you do in school and belittles it. Sorry you’ve been brought up in the generation of test, test, test where teach, teach, teach means nothing unless it culminates in Commended.
I’m sorry I had to look at you and say “no talking, no questions, no, no, no” unless, of course, your question was could you read a book when you were done.
I’m sorry I had to break out the teacher look when the entire class was done within 90 minutes, and yet you had to sit silently for 4 hours in your perfect little rows of 5X5, facing forward in classrooms covered in butcher paper so you wouldn’t actually learn something.
I’m sorry the politicians we elected listened to business owners and testing companies instead of educators about how best to ensure you are learning.
I’m sorry I didn’t stand up earlier and say enough is enough.
I’m sorry I didn’t educate your parents on what the test-only culture was doing to our classrooms.
I’m afraid now I might be too late. But I won’t be silent, and neither will most of your other teachers.
Something has to change. I’m sorry it won’t change in time to make a difference for you.
And, yes, I realize the test is done. I realize that you’ve been brought up in a culture that says the test is all that matters. But, dear students, that is wrong. And while the test is done, class is not.
I’ll see you Monday. I might not be able to recapture a week of lost learning, but for the next four weeks, we’re going to learn without the pressures of the test. Hopefully, the teacher look can be put away until next year’s week of no, no, no. No learning, no questions, no real answers other than A, B, C, D.
If you’d like to bring a book for downtime, AWESOME. I have some suggestions for you, and our library is fantastic.
Perhaps we’ll have a wake for the week that was wasted.