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Friday, April 29, 2011

STAR Test Time of Year

Spring is in the air and once again it is STAR testing time.  For the next few days my kids will be wasting spending hours each day filling in bubbles with number 2 pencils instead of engaging in classroom learning.  As you can probably guess, I am not a fan of standardized tests.

In general I think they are a big waste of time and money.  The only redeeming value of STAR testing is a lighter homework load but this is all fodder for another post.......

What I am more concerned about is the anxiety that these test can cause in children.   Specifically one of mine.  My son (who is a sensitive soul) has been extremely stressed out about these test this year.   So much so that he is having nightmares about failing his math test and is crying outside his classroom door because he is so worried about how he will preform on the test.  And we are NOT a family that ever discusses these test.  We do not prep our kids for the test or send our kids to STAR test camp (yes, there are parents who download sample tests and  yes, these classes do exist).   And when we receive the results at the end of the summer we do not even show our kids how they did.   THESE TESTS DO NOT MATTER TO ME!

But somehow my child is picking up cues that STAR testing is important.  Maybe it is because for the past few weeks he has been taking test achievers practice tests.  Maybe it is because kids in his class talk about how they have been practicing math problems at home.  Or maybe it is because each morning there is at least one parent standing outside his classroom door asking what material is going to be covered and on which days of the week.

I can tell  my son  until I am blue in the face that these test do not matter but other outside influences suggest that they do.  So for this week, I will brace myself for more tears.  I'll comfort my son after nightmares that involve fractions instead of dragons.  And I'll continue to remind him, that these tests do not have anything to do with the wonderful, creative student that he is and will continue to be.

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