Testing, 1, 2, 3

As per the law in this state, I am testing my child with a standardized test. We have to test at the end of odd-numbered grades or have an independent evaluation done (yes, I'm a bit late.) Of course, the test need only cover reading, language and math, all other subjects being unimportant. And they only have to score above the 14th percentile. So, it is incredibly meaningful information.

We are using the PASS test. Mostly because friends have used it and said they liked it. But also because 1) it is untimed and 2) it has a placement test so they aren't being tested beyond (or beneath) their ability.

Now I must say that I do not like standardized testing. Why? Well, I don't think they really show what someone knows. I think seeing what they can do makes more sense that filling in circles. I think there is more to learning than reading, language and math. I think teaching to the test is wrong. They say it well here. An excerpt:

    The U.S. is the only economically advanced nation to rely heavily on multiple-choice tests. Other nations use performance-based assessment where students are evaluated on the basis of real work such as essays, projects and activities. Ironically, because these nations do not focus on teaching to multiple-choice tests, they even score higher than U.S. students on those kinds of tests.

And, of course, Alfie Kohn has much to say on the topic. He's even written a whole book on the topic.

So, naturally, my kids love the test. Sandis did the placement and wanted to do ALL the rest TODAY. Stella is jealous she doesn't get to fill in circles so I'm letting her do the placement test too. For crying out loud, what's up with them?! I guess it's the novelty of the thing. Plus, they don't realize that tests can mean pressure to perform. Crazy kids.


  • April | November 11, 2011 at 1:46 PM

    My kids liked the PASS too. I think, as you said, it's the novelty. It's like doing a slightly boring puzzle book. It didn't hurt that they don't have a sense that the outcome is particularly important, so they can just enjoy the process. I'd like to hear what you think of the results when the come back.

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