Thursday, April 28, 2016

My Kids Take the Test So That They Learn Not to Back Down from a Challenge! 

The above title is what parents who choose to opt in to testing sometimes say to parents who choose to opt out.  Here is a response from Jeanette Deutermann, founder of Long Island Opt Out. 

Thought I would share my response:
Our children will take hundreds of age appropriate tests throughout their lifetime. They will be fully prepared to take appropriate tests.
Our children will be and are challenged on a daily basis. Sports, social challenges, challenges in the classrooms. These assessments go beyond a challenge and represent a narrative of failure. There are appropriate challenges, in which children prepare for, work towards, and have the ability to master once they have successfully worked long enough. This is not THAT. Many children will fail these assessments over and over each and every year with no hope of ever achieving "mastery" because they were not designed that way. A cut score and percentage of failure is designated before the administration.
Think of it like teaching your child to ride a bike with flat tires and bent wheels. Could there be a possibility of mastery on that bike? Most likely not. Will the child learn anything from attempting to ride it? Yes they will learn to give up. They will decide that riding a bike will never be fun or worth the effort because they will never feel the joy of success.
Learning, especially for children as young as 8, should not be something that introduces unyielding struggle, unattainable goals, and repeated and chronic failure. To be a life long learner, a child must have the stage set early to see the joy of discovery, the joy of success, and learning without the crushing fear of failing.
When sitting for 6 days, there is no way to tell the child, "just do your best it doesn't matter what your score is." They know it's a test and they know there is pressure to perform, and they know the teacher and parents want them to do well on it. They recognize when they just aren't able to understand the test questions. For many children this is a negative experience that will color their views of school for years to come.
They still want a challenge? Buy the kid some stilts.

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