Monday, October 04, 2004

I don't think test stress is part of a healthy curriculum

The other day, I was surprised to find that a first grade class had spelling tests every Friday. The words on the list looked easy to me but still I know some kids were worrying about taking the test.

And at another school, I know the kindergarteners had spelling tests every Monday.

I'm far from being a fan of tests, especially at this age, even though I did well on pencil-paper tasks. I'm not under any illusion I'm smarter, whatever that means, just because I do well on those things.

So when I come across articles like these, I despair. Testing is not about teaching kids, although I'll allow it's one way of measuring how well the kids take a test. But does a test really show what you know and what you've learned? I've taken tons of tests where their contents had little to do with what I've really learned. And what about the damage to the psyche of littlest kids? Is it worth this?
They can't sleep. Their heads are throbbing. Some even vomit.

Signs of a serious illness?

No, they're symptoms of test stress on kids.

Standardized tests kick into high gear next week with the Ohio Third Grade Reading Achievement Test.

Much is at stake for schools, which depend on good test results for their district and school ratings.

As the number of standardized tests administered increases, stress over these exams trickles down from administrators to teachers, to kids.
Just because you're testing kids does not automatically mean they're getting a good education.