State testing insults me as a parent and a teacher

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Bella2010, Feb 7, 2015.

  1. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Since becoming a parent, I have a different view on standardized testing than I did before as just a teacher. I don't think school is going to be DS's thing, and I apologize in advance to his future teachers because I'm afraid he's going to to be the source of frustration in their lives, lol. It's not that I think he won't be smart enough. I think he's going to be very intelligent - as does every parent, but for the sake of this rant, I'm going with it being a concrete fact. I think he's going to do what he has to to get by, but I think it's going to stop there. I think I'm going to be on the other end at P/T conferences hearing “if he'd just apply himself” or “he is so much more capable than what we see.” I think he's going to the kid who fidgets. I think he's going to the kid who leans back in his chair. I think he's going to be the kid who taps his pencil. I think he's going to be the kid who asks his teacher 100 times a day if it's time to go home. I think someday we'll probably have the ADHD talk. I think he's going to be the kid who wants to quit school at 16 and go to work, which won't happen.

    State testing insults me as a parent. To know that an entity who knows nothing about my son assesses him and puts him into a category insults me. It insults me because it doesn't measure his ability to figure things out. It insults me because it doesn't measure his independence. It insults me because it doesn't measure his empathy for others. It insults me because it doesn't take into account the type of learner he is - kinesthetic, most definitely. It insults me because it labels my child, a label that becomes part of his file. It insults me because I feel I have to judge my child based on the label it puts on him, and tell him he needs to try harder when deep down, in my heart, I know that a stupid test of fifty questions doesn't matter to me because I know the kind of kid he is.

    A good kid, who treats others well. A good kid, who is respectful to his teachers and elders. A good kid, who is smart in his own way: read - God help us all if he's let loose with a screwdriver and pliers in his hand. A good kid who entertains himself for hours with a trailer he's pulled the tires off of and tractor that has met the same fate. A good kid who hooks up two tow ropes at precise places to his swing set because he's going to pull it with his tractor. A good kid who randomly comes up and tells me he loves me.

    It insults me that as a fellow teacher I feel I can't be honest. I feel it's my responsibility to stress how important the test is because I know how much pressure we're under to deliver results. It insults me, makes me feel guilty, and angers me to know that I often give parents the same speech I know I'll hear someday - that their son or daughter is capable of so much more, if they'd only apply themselves, etc. Deep down I want to tell them that their child is wonderful and special in his/her own way but that school isn't their thing, and that it's okay. I feel like I can't, however, because I know my reputation as a teacher is riding on four days worth of tests.

    Rant over
     
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  3. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Can't you just opt your child out of testing? If you think it is so evil and unfair?
     
  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    AMEN!
     
  5. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Nope. Absences count against our district. If I knew it wouldn't count against us, I would.
     
  6. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    What do you mean, count against your district?

    If I was as upset as you seem to be, the district can shove it up their @#$%$. As a parent do what you believe is right for YOUR child. Opt them out of the test, your the parent, no excuses.
     
  7. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I am one of the minority of teachers here who began teaching before mandated state testing.

    It has made a tremendous difference in our schools, our teachers, and our students. Not for the positive.
     
  8. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    We had standardized tests in Michigan over 35 years ago.
     
  9. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    I should have worded this differently. It's a state thing, not anything to do with a decision by my district. Absences in general count against us in our district report card, the secret formula that state department uses to determine our effectiveness. There's no official way to opt a kid out of the test. He would be listed as unscored and count against us as a district.
     
  10. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I am going to go out of a limb here and suggest that your standardized test was given at the end of the year with little to no fanfare.

    The difference now is that many, many districts spend the majority of the year taking a multitude of practice tests to predict how they may do on the real test that is given three quarters of the way through the school year. (and tests on a whole year of learning)

    I am also going out on a limb to suggest that in Michigan 35 years ago, students participated in all subjects, including fine arts and subjects that weren't on the test.

    The difference now, as mentioned by many, many teachers, is that now they only teach material from the tested subjects. The rest is considered non essential and is not offered.
     
  11. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    What I am saying is, as a parent, I am going to do what is right for my child. I DO NOT CARE about my districts report card if I am 100% convinced it is soooooooo horrible for my child. My children come first, do what is right by them.

    You wrote a very long, very thought out, very upset and frustrated topic post, are you telling me your districts report card is ahead of this on your most important list?

    When I read your post, it sounded very very important to you, I find it hard to believe your district's report card is more important to you.

    Maybe I am not understanding something?
     
  12. Emma35

    Emma35 Connoisseur

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    Check into it. In my state, Michigan, a parent has the legal right to opt out of all state mandated assessments. I know many other states are the same. It can't count against your child. Please check into it.
     
  13. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I agree, crappy teachers are crappy teachers. Crappy teachers promoted are still crappy teachers.

    I love the idea of science and social studies are devoid of reading, writing, thinking, comparing, math, ..etc. Makes me laugh.
     
  14. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    The day that high stakes standardized testing goes away forever will be a very positive one for the country, children, and the education field in general. If it is legal for me to do so (Virginia law is hazy at best... it could be that I'd have to homeschool for a month), I fully intend on my daughter never taking a high-stakes standardized test. I hope for the sake of her teachers that they are allowed to use an evaluation method that doesn't involve SOL results.
     
  15. Emma35

    Emma35 Connoisseur

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    But he wouldn't be absent. He would be in school.
     
  16. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I absolutely agree with this sentiment.

    I have worked in at least three different districts where the crappy teacher promoted to crappy P has written up teachers who used material that was not from the reading series to try to bring in social studies or science. These same crappy P's are the ones who cancelled art, PE, recess, etc to have more test practice time.

    And now teacher's salaries are based on the number of students who take the exams and how many passed.

    So, I feel for the OP.
     
  17. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I think she means absent from the test. In Virginia, from what I understand, refusing to take the test counts as a score of 0 for the school. Basically from the school standpoint, test refusal is the same as taking the test and getting every question wrong. With that comes all the expected negatives (teacher/principal evaluations, risk of not making AYP, the possibility of becoming a priority school, less time for science/social studies/art/music/PE, etc)
     
  18. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Yes, this is what I mean. I didn't do a very good job wording my previous response.
     
  19. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    As a parent this is irrelevant. From a school's stand point it saves money not servicing children with special needs.
     
  20. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    So the school's score is more important?
     
  21. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    As a parent, it certainly would affect me if the school became a priority school, or if administration/teaching staffs faced termination.
     
  22. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    I agree with this post. In our state, we can opt out for religious reasons. It's just like measles vaccinations. There's one elementary school in a hip neighborhood where just a tiny percent of student take the tests. I'd like to tell all my parents to opt their child out.
     
  23. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Oh, of course, but you still do what is right for your child. You do not jeopardize YOUR CHILD!!!!
     
  24. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    That's not what I'm saying. This kind of goes back to how/why this insults me as a teacher. As a teacher, I know how much is riding on these stupid tests. If my son not taking the test counts against the teacher, I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel some guilt on the subject. I don't think taking these tests will make or break DS as a person. What I'm saying, from a parent's point of view, is how frustrating they are to me because it's not a total picture of my son's abilities and talents.
     
  25. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    The question at that point becomes a matter of what is worse for my child. Since it's not like I could opt them out of all the ridiculous test prep (to say nothing of school level/district level SOL benchmarking tests), there's certainly a point where just having my student take the damned test would be a superior outcome to them refusing it.

    As a professional, my primary goal is getting rid of high-stakes testing, period. My daughter is certainly a part of the reason, but so are the 75 students that I teach on a weekly basis.
     
  26. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Ultimately, I know you will put your child first. Unfortunately, the teacher may suffer, but you can't worry about that.

    I pulled one of my children out of 4th grade for part of the year because the testing mentality was giving him ulcers.

    Something is wrong with the system when our child becomes a pawn.
     
  27. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Yes, but this is not what this post is about.

    This post is about a parent and the well being of THEIR child.
     
  28. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Exactly, this is my point. As the parent of the child, you end it.
     
  29. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Sure, and a parent debating whether opting out of the test is worth the potential negative effects to their future education is thinking of their child's wellbeing
     
  30. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Bella,

    I agree with you. It is amazing to me how politicians have decided to take so much control over our schools. While testing has been done for decades, it is when No Child Left Behind started that it has made harsh consequences for schools and districts with low standardized test scores. Not sure if parents or teachers hate it more, but I know high stakes testing is not what most teachers or most parents want.
     
  31. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    That debate is not happening by the poster.
     
  32. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    I have been told that districts in my area are threatening to mark students absent if they refuse to take the test. It doesn't seem legal, but I cannot be sure. Enough absences and the student will fail for the year. I can't really blame the districts too much, though. If too many kids opt out, the districts will lose vital funding that is tied to state tests.
     
  33. Emma35

    Emma35 Connoisseur

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    I know in my state it is not legal to mark them absent. Parents can opt their child out of any state mandated tests. If a parent opts out it also includes all the prep time given for such tests. The child is to be given other work during test prep time or during test time.
     
  34. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Wait what?

    You cannot blame a school district for marking a student absent, who was in fact not absent?

    What else are you willing to accept that your school does to your child?
     
  35. Emma35

    Emma35 Connoisseur

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  36. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    WOW! In my area, the child would have about 1/2 hour of class and lunch. Actually, they may miss lunch, too, because the schools play test prep games during lunch. :whistle:
     
  37. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    ..what the district "does to my child?"

    It is not the district that is imposing these harmful, wasteful tests on our children. It is not the district that is mandating that my special education students partake in these tests that will make them feel even more ridiculously inadequate than they already feel. It is not the district that has decided my children and their teachers can be encapsulated by one test.
     
  38. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Yet it IS your district, lacking integrity, who IS marking students absent, who are in fact NOT absent.

    So yes, it is what else does the district do to your child, in the absence of integrity, and then points the finger at XXX factor.

    Would/do you personally and knowingly mark students absent who you know are not absent for missing something?
     
  39. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Whoa, whoa, whoa peeps. I didn't intend to start a debate on opting kids out...I didn't even mention it in my post. I do, however, appreciate the fact some of y'all have thrown the idea out there. I was just venting about how insulted I am that my child, who will be intelligent in his own way, will be assessed by a stupid test.
     
  40. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    There aren't many topics that can raise as much debate from both teachers and parents than state mandated testing. :eek:
     
  41. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    The districts are resorting to threatening to mark students absent if they opt-out because so many parents are inquiring about it. So many parents agree that the tests are an abomination and a colossal waste of their children's time that the districts are panicking that they will lose funding. I don't know if it demonstrates the highest degree of integrity on their part, but I also don't know that they should stand by and be martyrs either. They are in a very difficult situation.
     

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