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?
Linking to: www.themommymess.com