Sunday, March 4, 2012

Peppermints Needed


Do you have your homeschooled students do standardized testing at the end of the school year? Perhaps you are required by your state. Perhaps you just want to have a record of how your child measures up to others his or her age. Or, perhaps you are completely against it.

Thankfully, the state of Oklahoma does NOT require standardized testing. In fact, we are one of the only, if not the only, state in the United States that has NO legal requirements on our right to homeschool.

One of our local Co-ops provides a setting for the Iowa testing at the end of the year. I tossed around the idea of having Dawson test, but then decided against it. And here are some of the reasons why ...

1. I was always a Straight A student in high school, and tested horribly on standardized tests. I was told that, according to my standardized testing results, I would be a C student in college. I was an A student.

2. One of the benefits of homeschooling is having your child NOT have to measure him or herself up to others. He (or she) is free to learn in the way he learns best, and has more opportunity for interest-led learning. When these things are occurring, THEY ARE LEARNING! And they are learning more than the tests require. I do look at the state PASS objectives for each of Dawson's subjects when planning his courses. I have noticed EVERY SINGLE TIME that what I have planned for him for his courses, goes WAY above and beyond what the state requires that he learn in those courses.

3. I do not want my students to feel like the only reason they are learning is so that they can score high on a test. I want my students to learn to love learning so that it becomes a lifelong occupation. An example of this is with Accelerated Reading tests. Our public schools require students to gain so many points by reading books and taking multiple choice tests on them. They take a placement test at the beginning of the year to determine their book level. Then they are not allowed to read and test on books either below or above that level. So, if my son wanted to read a book above his level HE WOULDN'T BE ALLOWED TO! Or, if he wanted to read a picture book about a subject HE WOULDN'T BE ALLOWED TO! Ridiculous! It has been statisically proven that high school students have learned how to skim a book for potential test questions, and only read a book to that level. They aren't reading for the joy of reading. They are reading to take a test. Tragic!

4. I never liked peppermints, and maybe my students don't either. Our public schools send out a huge request for peppermints during testing times. There is a supposed proof that peppermint makes your think more clearly, or something like that. But what if peppermints make you gag? I say all this in jest. But, seriously, this is how ridiculous standardized testing has become.

I gauge what my kids are learning by the conversations that we have, and by how engaged they are in a subject, and how things they have learned "pop up" later down the road when we are on trips or studying other subjects. I gauge how well my kids are learning by being involved in their daily assignments and grading them. I don't need a test score to tell me if my child is bright and educated.

What about you? How do you feel about standardized testing?

See what other Crew members have to say about this topic.

6 comments:

  1. Well said! We did testing for a few years- what I found out is that my kids tested pretty much exactly how I thought they would. Besides, homeschooling is so much more. Those tests won't child give a score for character or compassion or effort- all far more important in my books.

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  2. In New York state we are required to submit standardized test scores every few years...there are a variety of options for getting out of it the other years. I have been trying to figure out a loophole for not doing them at all because I hate the principle of them so much. I suppose they aren't so terrible, but I truly don't like them. My older daughter needs to do some testing this year, and I am downplaying it as much as possible.

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  3. kudos to you! I am so not impressed with standardized testing. I do choose to test each year, but our state only requires 3rd, 5th, 8th, & 10th grade. I just stay with the routine to keep them familiar with it. It's a joke though. One child (now graduated) always tested 2 yrs behind although quite smart, and my miss smarty pants tests WAY higher than is necessary to even know about. I think I wanna move to your state. ;^)
    ~Sheri

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  4. Peppermints, huh? Hmm, I love peppermints...too bad they didn't have that while I had to do testing in school! But anyway- I'm not a fan of testing but I did take the easy way out this year (since I have to have some sort of assessment and my *own*- as their teacher- doesn't count *rolling my eyes now*). Anyway- great post :)
    Now I want some peppermints... ;)

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  5. Texas doesn't require tests either. Yay! I let my older daughter test one time (6th grade) and it was so stressful for her since a lot of the content wasn't the same as what she was learning. She did okay in other areas, but I knew exactly how she would do before she even took the test! Tests are for the masses. I know exactly where my child is.

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  6. Very true indeed! I feel like your last paragraph was written by me :)
    In Florida, one of the ways to meet the yearly review is testing....I have used a very basic test of skills just to meet the requirement (and I do "fudge" the time allowed for math!)
    Now that my oldest is in high school, I know that I was always right about what my child knows!

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