It is that time of the year when many K12 students are taking standardized tests, and schools are revving the students up for them. You also get many parents who are against testing trying to lobby you to boycott them, etc.
We are lucky to be living a country with so many freedoms and with a free working education system, even if the system is far from perfect. These freedoms allow everyone to question without retaliation (in theory). I am not arguing for the test or against the test, what I am talking about is how different administrators, teachers, and parents behave at this time.
I always receive more correspondence from administrators at this time, all about the test of course. I wish I would hear from them when I call about matters that are of equal importance to me.
Teachers are telling student “do your best”, “get plenty of sleep”, and “have a good breakfast”. However, isn’t that what they are supposed to do every day? What is different now? I remember gum being one of the banes of my existence while I was a classroom teacher, and I find during tests this year they are giving students spearmint gum to chew because “it helps them focus”. Where do you think that gum is going to end up? Under the table of course!
Parents join the insanity by protesting everything they dislike about the tests, and they are given extra fodder with allowance of gum and other special “sweet test treats”.
No one at school is happy during this time; there are a lot of strained faces, a lot of anger, and a lot of people holding their breath. This is not healthy!
We need to pick our battles better because the children see all this and wonder what is going on with everyone. They begin to dread this time of the year not because of the tests, but because of the element of madness that exists during this time.
Testing exists, whether you like it or not, but do we need to fill or children with dread and test anxiety? Do we need argue, fuss, and fight at this time every year? The conversation about testing needs to begin before testing starts and it does not need to be an uncivilized loud conversation; it is ok to talk in your ‘inside voice’.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
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