Mother has children opt out of standardized testing

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by peeples, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. peeples

    peeples New Member

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    http://edition.cnn.com/2011/US/03/20/pennsylvania.school.testing/index.html

    Gray says the only legal exemption that would allow her kids to sit out the tests was a religious objection. So that's what she did.

    But Gray says her concerns go well beyond religion. "The more I look at standardized tests, the more I realize that we have, as parents, been kind of sold a bill of goods."

    She says the tests are not accurate measures of accomplishment, create undue anxiety for students and are used to punish schools.

    She gives the example of her sons' award-winning school, Park Forest Elementary, which last year was put on "warning" status after the school's special education students fell below the level of progress the state expects on their exams.
     
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  3. eleven

    eleven New Member

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    Too bad there aren't more parents like her....willing to actually DO something and TAKE A STAND. I applaud her for her conviction, and her conviction is right, IMO.

    When my kids were younger, they were simply "sick" on the days that the standardized testing was given. It was a silent protest, and I wish I had been more vocal about it.

    Peeps, I love your avatar photo. Beautfiul!
     
  4. cluciano63

    cluciano63 Well-Known Member

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    If kids don't take tests...how can it be determined what they know? :(
    I'm not sure I understand.
     
  5. Charlie09

    Charlie09 Former Member

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    Homework, classroom tests, discussions with parents on concepts.
    I home school - but part time school (2 days a week) I'll opt out of the standardized tests as well. They don't matter - I care much more that my daughter understands the concepts and is consistently learning.
     
  6. Mr. E

    Mr. E New Member

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    Standardized tests do not determine what a child knows. A teacher-made test, sure. Other assessments in the classroom work great. But to lump all students together to take one test that supposedly accurately assesses them is wrong, in my opinion.

    We used to look at examples of our state's standardized test's written portion, student examples, so we could see what writing samples had gotten a "4," which had gotten a "3," and so on. We were English teachers at the high school level, and we were all shocked at what the state was looking for. Grammar and spelling were out the window; logical thought processes were out the window. What we considered to be good essays were actually usually "2"s; the essays that scored higher, the "3"s and "4"s, were very poorly written. To this day I'm not exactly sure what the state was looking for, but it was not the way I taught writing skills, nor was it the way any of my colleagues taught. It was shocking and an eye opener.

    Questions on standardized tests are often vague and confusing, but the only thing the test administrator can do is re-read the question.
     
  7. belimom

    belimom Our lives begin to end the day we become silent ab

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    Clu, standardized tests can offer a lot of useful information. What they are primarily used for in the schools, though, is to grade the schools, not the kids. The students are already being tested, have homework, etc, from regular class work.

    My concern is that the test *is* taught for about 6 weeks prior to the actual test. Practice tests with how to fill in the bubbles correctly, etc. As well, the content is known ahead of time by the teachers (not the exact questions, though), so they make sure to add the test-specific content in to their lesson plans. I am speaking from personal experience here as a 1st-grade teacher years and years ago, before going to grad school and becoming a School Psychologist.

    Now, as a School Psychologist, I give standardized tests, but individual ones. I personally believe in the results of the intelligence/cognitive tests more than the achievement tests, since there is always the issue of different children not being exposed to the exact material on the test. The exceptions are the basics - reading decoding, reading comprehension, math calculation, math reasoning, and writing. The science, literature, etc - I think are useless and I usually don't give them.

    We are currently homeschooling and evaluating how well that works for our family (jury is still out on that one!). I don't have any problem with my children taking standardized tests but I'm more concerned about teaching the test as I mentioned above and that happens *before* the test: I don't want my children to think that learning is about passing a test or giving the answer the teacher wants. I want them to continue their love of learning just for the love of finding out new things. The emphasis on the test results probably does more damage than actually taking the test, which can prepare older students for the SAT, etc. I don't see the point for the younger children.

    ETA: When I was in grad school, I used to have a comic strip that I had cut out and saved: it was a picture of a teacher sitting behind stacks of papers and a child was asking for help with something. The teacher said she didn't have time to help the child because she was too busy filling out all the quality-based education paperwork to make sure the child was getting a quality education.
     
  8. believe09

    believe09 Active Member

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    Here, Here. I admire this woman a lot...
     
  9. not_my_kids

    not_my_kids New Member

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    The standardized tests seem to test the school more than the kids. And being standardized, it makes it harder for the tests to accurately reflect who's learning what, since every district and often the individual teachers, have different styles and curriculums.
     
  10. looneymama

    looneymama Member

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    As the mother of a child with ADHD, I am not a fan of these tests and the pressure behind them. My son meets or exceeds grade level expectations for every subject (except for handwriting and organizational skills :woohoo: lol surprise!), but he's not great with tests like this.
     
  11. Melanie

    Melanie Inactive

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    I always felt these tests were more for the teacher/school than the child. I rely on my son's progress report and daily scores more than I rely on standardized tests. I've never put much into them, considering them to be a bit of a time waster.

    MOO

    Mel
     
  12. BetteDavisEyes

    BetteDavisEyes All the boys think she's a spy...

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    State-required standardized testing has resulted in a lack of creativity and flexibility in the classroom as teachers must "teach to the test" so that their students fare well.
     
  13. Mr. E

    Mr. E New Member

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    Although standardized tests scores are used to place students in classes, and teachers can use the tests to see if a student has met the basic standard, fallen below, or achieved a higher score, I don't consider the tests to be "for teachers." A student who scores below average may very well be a fantastic student in the classroom. My LD daughter scored "proficient" (the highest possible) on a standardized math test in elementary school. The child is LD in math; I guarantee she is not a proficient math student. Her score did not ever reflect her learning and abilities in the math classroom.

    The best indicator of a students' abilities is the first six weeks or so of class.

    Standardized tests are for the state to say, "Here's where we fall nationwide." As far as I can tell that's the only purpose for them. And, sadly, a lot of really great teaching is often put on the back burner so teachers can focus on getting those kids ready for that stupid test.
     
  14. txsvicki

    txsvicki Active Member

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    I guess standardized means the TAKS type tests they give every spring to determine if a child passes to the next grade level? The teachers around here hate those things as much as parents and kids. My grand daughter does very well in school but is getting nervous about the test, even though she knows she will pass. It does create anxiety, and the federal law is always misquoted. It says that a child MAY be retained not that they HaVe to be retained if they don't pass. I am dreading my 3rd grader's results this year and hoping they don't try to flunk him due to thinking they have to reach some quota of retaining kids. He's even going to go to school on Saturday mornings to prepare for those things.
     
  15. not_my_kids

    not_my_kids New Member

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    Don't forget the 4th grade MEAPS and whatever test they have to take mid year in second grade. I am all too familiar with the second grade test, in fact, it's because of that test that I am behind, still today, in basic math concepts. I scored in the 94 percentile in math at the time of the test. A clerk in the office apparently had dyslexxia that day, since she wrote down that I had scored in the 49th percentile. While the rest of my class was learning how to multiply and divide, I was sitting in the remedial class down the hall, repeating "1 plus 1 is 2." When the mistake was realized, 6 weeks later, they simply returned me to class, with no attempt to make up the missed 6 weeks of class. I still can't divide without a calculator. It doesn't matter that I was a straight A student that showed no signs of trouble with math. The almighty test said I was behind, therefore I was behind. Those tests do so much more harm than good, as far as I'm concerned. Lord knows they did for me.
     
  16. looneymama

    looneymama Member

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    We got a letter this year from my son's school inviting him to participate in an after school program for kids who need extra help in certain areas. He was invited for reading. We were so confused! We'd just gone to conferences and the teacher had nothing but good things to say about him. "Just keep doing what you're doing" she said. He's an advanced reader.

    We were really frustrated that no one had contacted us before that point. If they would've told us that he needed help with anything I certainly would've worked with him at home. I was not happy that the first time I was even hearing about any problems was through an invitation for this program. We contacted his teacher to talk to her about it and she told us that the invitations are computer generated based on tests the kids took last Spring! :banghead: Needless to say I declined that invitation.
     
  17. Mr. E

    Mr. E New Member

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    We had something similar happen. My daughter had a first-year teacher for fourth grade. So of course this wasn't the best teacher she'd ever had -- classroom management was her priority, and my daughter didn't have as much homework as she even did in third grade. Fourth grade is one of the grades where they take state tests. Well, in third grade my daughter was placed in the talented-and-gifted program, but when the scores came back from her fourth grade standardized test, she had scored either at basic or below basic in several areas. So of course there was some issue with being in the gifted program (which was a pull-out program in elementary school), and we had to go back and look at both the district test scores and previous state test scores to show that it was unusual for her to have such low scores on the standardized test. I attributed it to the teacher. I was a first year teacher once, and I imagine my students didn't learn a ton that year. Her scores since have been fine.

    Now, tests like the PSAT and the SAT I can stand behind. To me, those tests do really matter. They can mean scholarship money for the child. Also, not everyone is required to take them, and teachers don't spend all their time teaching to them.
     
  18. Mr. E

    Mr. E New Member

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    I'm sorry for the double post, but I wanted to share an example of how standardized testing does not work. It is supposed to be a fair test for all students in the state, no matter where they come from or what their level is (here, every student takes the same test, depending on grade level).

    Well, my in-laws taught in the Alaskan bush for years. They told me that one question on a standardized test asked children in first or second grade what vehicle they would use to go across town. The choices were something like an airplane, a bus, and a boat. Well, these kids lived in a village that had no roads. It was accessible only by airplane. They used snow mobiles in the winter and boats in the summer to get around. The right answer was bus, but these kids didn't know about buses. They either answered airplane, because that's what they used to get to and from town, or boat, because in the summer that's what they used to get from one place in town to another. Every kid got that question wrong, and there was nothing the teachers could do about it.
     

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