Thursday, April 3, 2014

The 27th Line - by BenTaylorBlogs

Luke has been taking the STAAR test for the past two days, and it was the Writing portion of the test.  And let me just say that he's not great at writing.  He will take Math and Reading later this month.  The school has been prepping him with lots of "fun" worksheets that actually say "STAAR Prep" at the top.  We complete them dutifully, but since the last one he brought home had a score of a 54 written in blood-red at the top, I'm not feeling super confident about his performance over the last two days.

I don't like standardized tests, but I certainly don't mind them either.  I've had to take a lot of them throughout my life, not the least of which was the Bar Exam.  I'm okay at testing, so it hasn't been a huge stress on me.  I take the tests cramming everything I know about the subject into my mind for just a short period of time and then I promptly dump it all as soon as I walk out of the room.  The problem is that I know how to "work" the test.  I know how to study for the test.  I do not, however, actually learn all the material in the sense that I will have it available in my brain for the long term.  Seriously, just ask me a math or science question and I'll stare at you with a blank look on my face.  This is not my thing.  Even the Bar Exam consisted of cramming stuff into my brain just so I could get through the test.  Because, let's be honest, if I need the information, I will go look it up not only to remind myself of the details of the law, but also to see if there have been any amendments or changes since the last time I thought about the law.  So, while testing doesn't bother me, I don't actually think it's accomplishing its intended goal.

Nonetheless, testing is important and definitely has its place among society.  In fact, I'm not at all bothered by the fact that my kids will have to take these tests.  Honestly, all the STAAR prep materials are wonderful!  They are focusing on things the kids really do have to learn to go out into the real world - at least when it comes to writing.  It teaches punctuation, capitalization, grammar, etc.  Do I want my kid to have to edit papers for the rest of his life?  Uh, do I have a choice?  I have to edit my work, Chuck has to edit his work, everyone has to edit their work!  So, yes, I definitely want them focusing on this at school even if it is for a standardized test.

Anyway, here's a much more compelling blog post from a teacher whose students took the STAAR test the past few days.  While I appreciate and encourage the learning that the STAAR test is promoting, I also see the perspective of making sure our kids know that their entire self-worth is not summed up in a single standardized test.  I love "The 27th Line"!  I tip my hat to BenTaylorBlogs!

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