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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

To Standardize Test Or Not? Contest Updates

First I want to update on the two contests running on this blog right now. March 13th, is my 1 yr anniversary for this blog. Anyone who signs up to follow this blog, will be entered into a contest to win 1000 Entrecard credits. The second contest is for the Sylvan 4th grade workbooks. I have three contestants so far, all from Twitter. You have until March 30th to enter, please see the top of this blog, for contest details.

Now to the topic of Standardized testing. Here in Florida they take the FCAT. It is this week, and like other third graders, the public school, offered for my son to take it. I contemplated it, as you can use it for your yearly evaluation, and save 65 dollars, but then chose not to. Why, because I do not think at this age standardized tests are accurate. Test tasting is hard enough, and a test that could effect whether or not you can go on to fourth grade, I just do not agree with. Now I must say for the 5th grade FCAT I will probably have him take. As he gets older Standardized tests can be very useful, especially if you feel your child will be college material. I am fairly certain my son will go to college, so he will eventually have to be skilled at Standardized tests. If your child is not college material, or learning disabled, then Standardized testing, probably is not appropriate nor even useful. The sad part, and one of the problems I have with these tests, is that they use them to decide which schools get better funding. They should be used as a learning tool, to see how a student is progressing, not a funding option. I really do dislike that. So what do you think about this subject? I would love to hear from other people who homeschool, as well as public schooled parents.

With all that said, we do, starting tomorrow have testing, made from material we have covered. They are timed, and specific. I use them for grading purposes, as well to see how much information has been retained. It is a tool I like to use, for both strengths, and weaknesses.


Damien Riley said...

Hi there. Thank you for your post. I'm a 4th grade teacher in CA in a public school. I understand the test as a tool and for my school it has been a great goal for us to strive toward. Public school teachers don't teach their own kids and certainly need more than just intrinsic love for 35 kids to hit targets. I hope that doesn't sound brash. I highly respect homeschool teachers and it's interesting to get your perspective on this. Is it okay that I love the California Standards Test as a goal evry year?

Melissa said...

Of course it is OK, thank you for your perspective. I am not against testing all together, we test every week to review what has been learned. My main problem is testing, in such low grades. I do not see how it is very helpful, when their skills are so sporadic. Thank you for your input.

Eryn at said...

My daughter's school would do a big standardized test every year, starting in kindergarten. In k-2nd in our state, it's 100% voluntary for the schools to take these tests, so I can only guess that the school board had never bothered to come down and witness the PURE PANIC and STRESS on these kids' faces.

Oddly, I spent about 2 hours today chatting about standardized testing in elementary school. Our district is now going to something called MAPS testing, which doesn't just give you an arbitrary score based on how all the other kids in the state did, it tells you where your child is skill-wise, how it matches up with his age, and SPECIFICALLY what skills in the grade-range he might need some extra time on. Well! That's helpful!

2ndly, unless schools use these scores to address teacher/parent accountability, I don't really understand their purpose. A teacher can't tell you where your child is in class? What are conferences and end-of-year evaluations for?

For the state test in 3rd grade, my daughter's class actually spent MORE TIME on HOW to take the test than the subjects it covered. Answers needed to be filled in the blanks JUST so, or the camera/scanner wouldn't record the answer and the kids would get a zero. Nice.

My son is not to the age that we have to worry about testing, yet. Thank goodness. And isn't it interesting how each state has such different requirements for the testing of homeschooled students?

Thanks for the dialog, it's REALLY nice to know that I'm not the only person grumbling and scratching her head about these tests.

Melissa said...

Those are very good points. They teach them more on how to take the test here too, rather than the information needed to learn. I think they use these tests unfairly to judge what a child has learned. It is not accurate, because not all children can take tests successfully, but it does not mean they do not know the information.

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