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Standardized tests - are they worth the stress on our kids?

Posted by on May. 2, 2013 at 1:27 PM
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Does Standardized Testing Hurt Our Kids? (VIDEO)

 I just read this in the Stir and it made me think. My kids are in test prep mode this week, too, because of the statewide ARMT+ (Alabama Reading and Mathematics Test+) coming up next week. They're bright girls, tops of their classes, but the stress from the teachers and all the pressure they're placing on them all to do well on the test next week is really getting to them.

Is there too much emphasis on standardized tests? Do you think the schools should focus their attention elsewhere? Are your kids stressed out over these? 

by on May. 2, 2013 at 1:27 PM
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by Platinum Member on May. 2, 2013 at 1:33 PM
Is there really another way to universally judge students' performance and ability?
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by Ruby Member on May. 2, 2013 at 1:55 PM
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I don't like the idea of standardized tests but I find it interesting at how many parents are claiming their kids are stressed out about the tests.  I think part of it is how you as a parent approach the test with your kids.  My kids are not stressed about the tests, in fact my oldest is excited to take the test and she has her younger brother excited to take them as well. 

by Angie on May. 2, 2013 at 1:57 PM


by on May. 2, 2013 at 2:15 PM
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 I understand the need to test to see how well the children are learning.  What bothers me is when funding is connected to the results of the tests. 

My kids have never been stressed out about the tests.  They just take them and forget them.

 I will say the standardized scores actually helped me to get across that something was going on with my older son.  His scores are always through the roof, but his grades weren't indicating the same pattern.  Those scores really brought it home to his teachers that he wasn't just a dumb kid or wasn't paying attention.  Those scores helped me get the school district to evaluate him and take me seriously.  The amount of support I received after they saw his scores was amazing. 

by Ruby Member on May. 2, 2013 at 2:19 PM
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I do not agree with standardized testing whatsoever.  It is completely pointless, and this has been proven time and time again, yet they are continually forced on our students and teachers.  I know many teachers, and they all hate the standardized testing with passion.

by Ruby Member on May. 2, 2013 at 2:20 PM
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Students are not universal, so why would we hold every student to the exact same standard?  Standardized testing is an abysmal failure at truly judging students' performance and ability.

Quoting Donna6503:

Is there really another way to universally judge students' performance and ability?

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Hi!  My name is Jenn!

by Member on May. 2, 2013 at 2:21 PM

 IMO, I think it should go back to the old school ways of just having midterms & end of the year exams. The standardized tests here in Florida (FCATS) are just about the $$$$$.........they teach to the test and really nothing else...these tests really do not do anything for the individual student.  The exams that were at the end of the year are based on what the teacher taught and hopefully the student learned all $$ tied to that....

by Member on May. 2, 2013 at 2:25 PM
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I homeschool. Loosely, mind you, we've toyed with the "unschooler" label.

In CO and now in WA, you can either get a private evaluation (approved evaluator for the state, but in both states there were those who specifically dealt with eclectic/unschoolish approaches), or do standardized testing.

DD always does the testing. I prefer it that way because she'd have to be practically comatose to get below the mandatory (in CO) 15th percentile, and it's less subjective than someone else's opinion of your home and education style if heaven forbid we were having a bad day and picked the wrong evaluator.

It's a hassle getting her to the testing center or having it administered, but it only takes a few hours. Obviously she passed in CO since we never heard anything about it from the schools. Here we don't even have to report the score unless we want to enrol our kids back in public, we just have to hang onto it for the sake of record keeping. Far as I'm concerned, DD can either do her best on the testing, and I'll just throw the results in a box for the next 8 or 9 years, sight unseen. I choose not to look at the results, they are no measure of her or her abilities, whether she scores in the 95th percentile or the 15th percentile. They don't apply to us one way or another, because we don't base learning around the preparation for or the outcome of tests.

What I don't get is why they're so heavily emphasised and why so much time is spent prepping kids to take them. I know NCLB is a part of it, but I remember the WASL being a big deal when I was a kid, long before NCLB. It completely stressed kids out, even good students. I think I only took it once or twice myself, since I lived in other countries on a number of the WASL years, but it was stressful even for me, and I was a good student with nothing to fear of testing. The teachers and parents deliberately ramped it up as this end-all-be-all of education, issued threats of DIRE CONSEQUENCES if we didn't do well, and basically made it one giant dog and pony show of unnecessary pressure and anxiety.

What I wish I'd realized then, and I'm glad my daughter knows now when she walks into that test center: tests are not an evaluation of ability, intelligence or anything else except a student's ability to memorize useless information on rote and then regurgitate it on test day. Memorization is not learning. You can recite facts to me or do the required math for me until you're blue in the face, but none of it really indicates any kind of ability unless you actually can understand and apply it.

by Silver Member on May. 2, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Higher education is tied to standardized texts.  SATs, GRE, GMAT, MCATS, CPA exam, bar exms.  I think it's a good thing to get kids used to taking these type of exams.  The stress from these exams is another matter.  They should be approached as "just a test"; either you know it or you don't.  It's the adults in the childrens' lives who place such u reasonable expectations on the kids.

tests don't stress kids; adults do.

by Gold Member on May. 2, 2013 at 2:44 PM
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The Atl cheating scandal involved teachers changing test scores to pass kids.    This went on for years.   

I had no sympathy for any of them UNITIL I saw a  teacher in tears explaining that she was a 6th grade teacher faced with a classroom full of kids who hadn't actually mastered 3rd grade.  The kids had all been passed by teachers and administrators cheating on the standardized tests for bonuses.    But because they effectively ignored the real test results they put other teachers in a position of having to cheat to keep their jobs and that just pulled more and more teachers in as the kids were incorrectly advanced.

So yes WE need these tests to tell US how our schools are doing.     Learning how to handle stress is part of life.    They're going to be faced with tests in college,   deadlines at work,   impossible work loads,   etc.  etc. etc.    Some of them might even be teachers someday facing the stress of a test that might tell them they didn't teach kids what they need to know to be able to handle the next grade. 

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