Recycled Post: ISAT Annoyances

In honor of ISATs next week and because I wrote this before I made the switch to WordPress, I am linking up with my friend, Adrienne at The Mommy Mess to recycle this post. I wish I could say my opinion changed but it has not. Even the conversation was the same.

I won’t go on and on about how much I absolutely hate ISATs because I could. I didn’t mind them for the first few years that I taught because I taught second grade and we didn’t do them. We had some standardized testing which I didn’t mind because it was nice to just write testing in my plan book and not have to plan anything. Other than that, I think the whole testing of an elementary kid is stupid (I know…very intellectual word to use). I had kids that were so bright and so smart and the minute you put that test in front of them, they froze. I had other kids who didn’t get it at all and just put anything. My favorite was when a child turned in his test, there was a nice pattern of colored dots that formed his initial (I swear that is a true story). He would have gotten a terrible score but how creative was that? This is my own opinion but one stanardized test is not going to show you the best of the kid taking it. The only kids that do well are kids that are trained well in taking them. I remember right before I left teaching, every institute day was tailored to the ISATs. There was no time for creative writing anymore. The writing had to be narrative, expository or persuasive. Nico had to write his speech for the CF event one year and he was stuck. I told him to just write from your heart and he said he couldn’t. He needed a topic sentence with three reasons for why he hated living with CF. I have news for the ISAT people…there are a lot more than three reasons for hating CF.

Anyway, as a parent, I hate ISAT week. Everyone is so tense. The kids (or at least mine) are nervous that they won’t do well. Nico is afraid of what they mean for his classes next year or in high school. Isabella is a nervous wreck that she won’t finish the “extended response” and I don’t even know what to say to ease her nerves other than, “Just do your best” to which she replies, “Moooommm, you don’t get it!” She is right. I don’t and I don’t care. I don’t care how they do on them because if they don’t do that great and it places them in a lower class with less homework and less frustration, then GREAT! Will this mean they won’t get into Harvard? Probably. Was there a chance in Hell that they were going to Harvard before they took the ISATs? Nope! So we are good.

I don’t appreciate the note that comes home the Friday before they start either. “Please make sure your child gets a good night sleep and a healthy breakfast.” Oooh…so there goes the all night party and Snickers for breakfast that we usually do on Sunday nights. I resent that just because of ISATs, they want to tell us to make sure of that. Someone tell me why pretzels are a healthy snack normally but during ISAT week, they are not? Good thing I had grapes in the house, huh? I also really resent having to cancel Nico’s orthodontist appointment. He was supposed to get his braces on and getting an appointment there is like trying to get into the White House but God forbid you take your kid out of school during ISATs! So now he is getting half on next week and the other half after Spring Break. I feel bad for him and really don’t get why the freaking orthodontist can’t just put them all on in one sitting like all the other orthos in the area (but that is for another post)? If you ask me, what is going to serve him better in life? Straight teeth or his ISAT score. I think straight teeth.

I want to care and think I should because I am an educator and was a good student but I just don’t think they accurately show who a student is and what they are capable of.

This was written when Nico was in seventh grade and the twins were in third. Nico continues to do well in school but horrible on tests where a lot is riding on them…classic test anxiety. Tommy and Belle still panic and worry the night before these and I still hate them. So, it is a perfect recycled post since not much has changed.

What about you? How do you feel about stadardized tests? How do your kids do? Are they laid back about them or do they panic like mine?

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  1. I LOVE you and this post!!!! This may trigger me to write a post about evaluations for B.
    Cindy Bryl recently posted..How do you know…My Profile

  2. I agree with you about the standardized tests. It seems like a waste of time to me, and it is definitely interfering with the broader education of children.
    Tracie recently posted..The Tuskegee Airmen: They Dared To FlyMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting! :) It’s definitely a thorn in my side when they take them and then again when they come back. With twins, they are always comparing themselves to each other.

  3. YAY! It worked! (Must have been on my side) These tests are sooooo nerve racking!!! I am the one who gets anxious about them…bc I worry so much that my kids will fail. The stress is magnified with all those letters about sleep and food and and and… the “importance of these tests”. Ugh. Hate it.
    Chris Carter recently posted..One Note Short…My Profile

    • As a teacher, I would stress about them a lot more. When Nico started taking them, I had hoped that he wouldn’t have the anxiety about it but he does so I’ve learned to accept it.

  4. You party all night and eat snickers for breakfast with your kids too?? LOL. I hated taking them and I dread the day my kids start taking standardized tests. I think they are an unfair judge of intelligence and make kids who have a lot of potential in other ways feel less than wonderful. Good luck to Nico!
    Alexa (katbiggie) recently posted..It’s a Taste Bud Party!!!My Profile

  5. HATE the idea. The purpose of school is NOT to teach to some stupid standardized test. Ugh.

    Our school starts these in 3rd grade and at least go through middle school (not sure about high school since we’re not there yet). I think they do it in the best way possible: They don’t make a big deal out of it at all. They tell the kids not to not be stressed about it and just make sure they get sleep.

    Luckily at our school, they don’t have anything to do with grades, they don’t have anything to do with moving on to the next grade, and they don’t have anything to do with your classes the next year. You do find out how your child did individually, but they mostly use the test scores to see–as a whole–how the grade level is doing in math, reading, etc. That way they know if they need to change things up in a discipline or if they are on the right track with their curriculum. This is about the only way I can stomach this kind of thing. –Lisa
    The Dose of Reality recently posted..Hey Oscars, How About Trying For Classy?My Profile

    • I want it the way your school does it. I’m not sure if they do them in high school either. Maybe it’s just the SAT/ACT tests I have to worry about for Nico. I just hate that they aren’t an accurate picture of my kid.

  6. Thank you – so I am not alone with my disdain of standardized tests. My biggest problem is that by 2nd grade in my district, they are “teaching to the test” because the rating we get from the state based on how we collectively do on the test is so important – but as you said, the test is not judging the kids fairly. And I also get pissy when I see that note a bout sleep and eating a good breakfast – LOL!
    Ilene recently posted..Diva Versus the Board of EducationMy Profile

    • Yep, when I was leaving teaching after I had Nico, that was what the emphasis was on. There was a lot more teaching to the test and even with the kids now, I see it. I’m sorry but I think that at 3rd grade, school should still be fun. It’s not always about the numbers.

  7. I am not a fan of standardized tests. I think it’s important that student learn the skill of test taking, but I despise “teaching to the test”. My child is not a number, not a dollar, and thankfully no longer part of this system. I’m sorry. Standardized tests get me on a soap box. I can’t stop myself.
    Adrienne recently posted..#GoingGreen: When date night is a dud.My Profile

  8. I have always hated those tests, as a student, then a teacher, and now a parent. It doesn’t measure the child’s capabilities and I think it’s an unfair way to measure them.

  9. {Kathy} Ah the standardized test……I have recently landed on the SAT/ACT planet with my two older ones. Now that they have both been accepted to great universities, my angst can fly. Those kids who do well on standardized tests came out of the womb that way and must have been privy to the test making strategies of the company which supervises them. What I have found is that test prep (aka how do you crack these tests and beat them at their own game) pretty much is the only solution. Enlist the help of qualified tutors and pray over them as they help your children.
    Mothering From Scratch recently to shake up 10 boring tasks of motherhoodMy Profile

    • Uggghhh….I don’t even want to think about it and we’ll definitely need to get a tutor because he stresses over the tests the most. Maybe that will help him stress less.

  10. Standardized testing just gets them ready for the real world, where you’re rated and categorized every day of your life. I will concede it’s more difficult to live outside the boundaries these tests set for you in real life, because they determine so much of what happens next.

    We don’t stress too much over it. Just try your best, like they might in a soccer game, and we’ll sort it all out when it’s said and done.
    Eli@coachdaddy recently posted..Why a Jersey Is More Than Just a ShirtMy Profile

    • I think in the real world they look at the whole picture more than one aspect. I don’t know…it’s been a long time since I’ve been out there so my frame of reference is a bit skewed.

  11. Oh, I can completely relate to this post! I taught 3rd grade for one year, and ISATs were so stressful, for my students and for me! My daughter is going to be in 3rd grade next year, but I am fortunate that she loves to write, so I think she’ll be okay. However, the paragraphs that she brings home which are written in the “ISAT” formula are not as well written as some of her own paragraphs. Following a formula is not always the best way to do things!
    Ginny Marie recently posted..Sometimes {Spin Cycle}My Profile

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