Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Yesterday both my youngest kids finished their standardized tests for the state. Testing seems to be one of the most stressful parts of the year for teachers, parents, and kids.

It's easy to see why teachers are so stressed. Schools and teachers are graded on how well their students do. In fact, their funding depends on it. Teachers have to spend their entire years teaching to the test, even knowing it doesn't benefit the students.

I didn't want that to be my kids' experience. As homeschooling and ALE students, they've undergone a couple of different testing scenarios: outside proctored testing, state online testing, and this year, testing at the local public schools for my younger two ( the eldest too college placement tests instead). They took the tests at school because ALE funding is in increasingly dire straits, and their advisory teacher has the hope that getting those  test scores in will help the ALE cause.

Once, the first year my eldest child tested, we did a practice test. I deemed it unnecessary after that. In the years that have followed,  have done little to prepare my children for standardized tests aside from making sure they get a good night's sleep and good breakfast (Well, my dear husband volunteered to drop the girl off on her last day of testing and presented her with a tumbler of coffee and peanut butter panda puffs to go). That's it. No pressure, and perhaps most helpful, no sharing of test scores. Until this year, when my eldest started preparing for Running Start, we never showed them how they did. This was my Husband's idea and at first I disagreed with it, but seeing the stress some parents go through over tests, I've concluded it's for the best. If your child is in a  public school, their teacher may have to stress about it but you don't have to pass that onto the child. If your child is private or home schooled or in an ALE, that whole cause of stress in eliminated. If you know your child doesn't test well or has special challenges, then take that into account before worrying.
Test scores say so little about the people we will become. So why do we let them cause so much worry?


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