Monday, April 25, 2011

Testing

What is the point of Standardized Testing? The name alone is offensive. Do we really want to live in a world where every person has exactly the same level of knowledge? These tests do not measure the quality or even breadth of one's education. They are a joke, really.

Homeschoolers in New York are required to test, using one of several options approved by the NYS Education Department. The one my family uses is the California Achievement Test. It is a format with which the kids are comfortable, it goes in 20 minute increments, and is relatively clear in it's instructions. I do not mind the test itself, honestly. I think it is a great tool for gauging where a child should be and seeing where you should be heading. However, using this tool as the be all end all to quantifying the value of a life's worth of education is ridiculous.

I want my children to be thinkers, problem solvers, creative reasoners. I want them to be pioneers, inventors, artists! Yes, I do believe it is important for them to know how to formulate an intelligent sentence and solve simple math equations. I think they should know important historical events and have a general understanding of geography. But who is to say what is important? Half the contries I learned about in middle school World Cultures don't even exsist today. And my kids have a whole new technological world that I could not have even imagined. How much of my education do I use in my daily life? To be honest, not a whole lot. Most of the skills and talents for which I am employed I learned on the fly in my adult life. Truly, in my return to the work force after kids adult life!

I do not care if my kids can identify a hanging participle or an indirect object. I care that they can coherently articulate their thoughts and enjoy good literature. I am not interested in torturing them into memorizing multiplication facts. I care that they know how to findt he answers they need. I care that they are curious about how things work and how to make their daily lives more fun!!

There is nothing better then seeing the look on a child's face when they discover something for the first time. There is no greater joy than seeing a dream brought to fruition by their own determination. These are the lessons I want to teach my children. Dreams can come true, and they can make it happen. I will be here, cheering them on and hopefully providing the inspiration and the courage to try.

2 comments:

The I's Have It said...

We are unschooling in North Carolina, and a big reason for that is because I feel the schools here teach to the standardized tests to such an extent that useful learning falls by the wayside. Keep the faith, unschoolers!

Anonymous Mommy Blogger said...

Today, our school district (state) has started our standardized tests. They will go on for 2 weeks. My daughter is so worked up & nervous over them, I am in a "I don't really care about them" mood. I told her this morning that they are a waste of time. She looked at me and told me that her teacher said how important they are. I told my daughter that they are important to her teacher because it is a measure of how well she is doing as a teacher. I also told my daughter that she is bright and that we don't need the results of a standardized test to prove it. K, you are right, they spend so much time prepping for these tests, that they are not learning anything else important. I do not remember my teachers making a big deal about state tests when I was in school, and I think I learned more. For example, when I was in 3rd grade, I learned and knew the multiplication tables. They also taught us other math things, but during the middle of my 3rd grade year, I knew them well. When my daughter was in 3rd grade last year, the teacher spent so much time on getting ready for these stupid tests, that they didn't learn the multiplication tables. In fact,they only began them in the middle of 4th grade! Well, I have begun to teach my daughter what I feel she is ready and needs to learn here at home. She was ready for mult tables last year, so I taught them to her. I also knew she was ready for long division in October, so I started that too. I am forever teaching English, writing & reading comp because she is more than capable. The teachers have never been happy with me "pushing" my daughter ahead, but she is my daughter and very ready & eager to learn. All the school does starting from 3rd grade is begin to prepare them for a life of test taking. Now, you know I don't home school, but I am a fan of it. There are some days that I feel like I am sending my daughter to school only for social reasons because she is learning so much more from me academically.