Every year in the public schools, we would administer a screening assessment to determine where a child was in terms of reading readiness, math, and social interaction.  The children are allowed to play in a large area with toys until they were called for the screening. I remember a  year when I was administering the reading assessment section to a sweet faced cooperative little boy. He sat patiently and answered all my questions. When I got to the question where I have to ask  "Can you show me where I start reading on the page?",  the child looked up at me in alarm and responded "Don't you know?" I couldn't help but break out in laughter. 

Out of the mouths of babes.................

Some screening like the assessment above that I participated in was very appropriate. That screening device  gave me lot of helpful information in regards to reading and math readiness, social interaction, and fine and gross motor skills. I can't say the same for some of the other tests that I saw administered over the years in the public schools.
I saw some colleagues get angry and frustrated as end of the year testing approached. Many would literally be reduced to giving lots of "practice" tests. In other words, they would teach to the tests. The major problem with that is that the child may be able to store the information in short term memory but it never gets to long term memory. In other words, they don't really learn the skill because testing became the instruction. Test scores become  inflated so that the school gets higher scores but the child is the unfortunate loser in all of this.  Do the tests actually measure what the policy makers originally intended? I would have preferred to see education set content standards and align curriculum and assessment to them.

I know I sound like a broken record but that is what I love about the private Christian school I currently work in. The upper grades do administer an end of the year test, but like all of the other grades, we spend the year teaching our students, free of having to implement "new initiatives" before we ever learned the prior ones. Our focus is on using assessment in daily instruction. We use the information from testing  to aid  our instruction and hopefully result in better teaching.

What is your opinion of all of the testing done in  schools?

34 comments

  1. Shell // April 5, 2010 at 12:00 PM  

    I was so frustrated with the EOGs. We were definitely encouraged to teach to the test. The last year that I taught, I was teaching 5th grade. I had some really bright kids in my class whom I decided could learn 6th grade math instead. They still took the 5th grade chapter tests and if they didn't know something, we'd work on it, but they were past all of that for the most part. My principal found out and laid down the law: I was NOT to teach them 6th grade math b/c they were not tested on that on the EOGs. In my opinion, if they could do the 6th grade math, then they obviously could do the 5th grade math so they would still do fine on the tests.

    Also, the EOG results were looked at as the be-all end-all for grade promotion. I could have a student who had failed everything all year long. And yet somehow get a Level 3. He/she might only be on the 3rd percentile, yet still get a 3, so they were passed along to the next grade.

    Really, I could keep going on and on. I do see some reason for these tests but they have become far too important.

  2. Oka // April 5, 2010 at 12:12 PM  

    I think the tests are only used to make schools look good (or bad). I don't think they are being used for their true purpose, which is to determine if 1) the schools are on track with their curriculum, and 2)to honestly asses the students abilities (how are they learning).

  3. VKT // April 5, 2010 at 12:39 PM  

    Shell,

    I just don't understand some administrators rationale...or LACK of rationale...on some issues. Why on earth your Principal would not let you meet the needs of your students is beyond me. How boring and frustrating that must have been for the children ready to move on. Thanks for your response!! I agree.

  4. VKT // April 5, 2010 at 12:40 PM  

    I couldn't agree more Oka...which is so sad for the children.

  5. Ms. Anthropy // April 5, 2010 at 1:32 PM  

    My poor grandkids are tested to death!

  6. VKT // April 5, 2010 at 1:37 PM  

    So true Ms. A...so true!

  7. ModernMom // April 5, 2010 at 2:09 PM  

    I have not had a major issue with the testing, but that is because both of my girls catch on quickly and test well. They don't find the assessments stressful. I do however hate that some of the children get so upset at "testing" time. In many cases I doubt we are getting a true evaluation of a child's ability!

  8. VKT // April 5, 2010 at 2:22 PM  

    Thanks so much for sharing Modern Mom. I am glad testing isn't stressful for your girls. Have a wonderful day!

  9. Choices // April 5, 2010 at 2:34 PM  

    I have a hard time understanding why the tests are so important. Here in Florida, too, teachers teach to the test and children aren't learning. I have heard teachers say that, I need to retain him, but I'll just wait until the FCAT in 3rd grade retains him/her. It has been so important that teachers produce high scores on the test to prove they are better teachers. I think the everyone loses.

  10. VKT // April 5, 2010 at 2:50 PM  

    Good point Anne. That makes it doubly hard on the third grade teachers when they do though. It makes them look bad when it isn't their fault.

  11. K∂riиє* Smith. // April 5, 2010 at 4:12 PM  

    Thanks very much for all those advices !
    He is 9 years old and my baby is just 1 what makes the things very hard sometimes...
    I love your blog. :)

    I would love to have you as my teacher, as you can see, english is not my first language...
    P.s.: Sorry about my english mistakes...

  12. Adrienne // April 5, 2010 at 4:14 PM  

    I think the tests are a ridiculous attempt at proving a teachers worth...If my child passes said test but retains none of the knowledge needed to pass it then in my book said test was a failure...My buggy is in first grade we work very very hard with him to ensure every skill they work on becomes a life time skill we use them over and over... I think those kinds of tests are definately part of the problem not the solutions

  13. michaeledlavitch // April 5, 2010 at 4:17 PM  

    I am a Middle School Math Teacher and I created a new free online math games site called HooDaMath.com

  14. Kristin // April 5, 2010 at 4:58 PM  

    Crazy in Kindergarten! Mine are taking a social test at the end of the year and they have to know their zip code, area code, and year of their birth- crazy!

  15. VKT // April 5, 2010 at 6:08 PM  

    K∂riиє*,

    I hope they helped. If you need more, just let me know. You are doing fine with your English, no worries sweet lady!

  16. VKT // April 5, 2010 at 6:09 PM  

    Adrienne,

    I would agree that they are not always used the way the legislators intended them to be.

  17. VKT // April 5, 2010 at 6:09 PM  

    Thanks for the advertisement Michael...lol

  18. VKT // April 5, 2010 at 6:10 PM  

    I agree Kristin...how important is it for a Kindergarten student to know their zip code...lol

  19. Theresa Milstein // April 5, 2010 at 6:15 PM  

    I'm glad you're out of that testing loop.

    There's a lot of testing in my school district. We hate district tests, state tests, and district tests to see how the students will do on state tests.

  20. VKT // April 5, 2010 at 6:20 PM  

    That says a lot about your district. The more you blog about it the more impressed I am....with the exception of the lesson plans...or lack thereof that some teachers leave you. That just should not be tolerated!

  21. The Stanley Family // April 5, 2010 at 8:25 PM  

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog & always being great with your comments! I'm so glad that you like the Ceramic Bookmarker - hope you'll enter the giveaway!! Hope you & yours enjoyed a wonderful Easter Weekend!!

    http://savingsandstewardship.blogspot.com

  22. VKT // April 5, 2010 at 8:56 PM  

    I may buy one as a gift. I am not too lucky when it comes to contests. Thanks so much for your comment.

    Blessings!

  23. Twee Poppets // April 5, 2010 at 8:58 PM  

    Hey, I just wanted to thank you for stopping by to congratulate me on 50 followers! That was very nice of you. :)

    I also wanted to let you know that in honor of getting to 50, I'm sponsoring my own giveaway - the winner will receive a handmade greeting card, made be me! I hope you'll stop by and enter!

    http://tweepoppets.blogspot.com

  24. VKT // April 5, 2010 at 9:04 PM  

    Dear Twee,

    I saw that. I just am not very lucky when it comes to contests. I may enter tomorrow. Blessings

  25. Debbie // April 5, 2010 at 10:58 PM  

    Oh you are so right on here. Living in SC you I am sure aware we rank low in the State..however my county ranks high, that is why we moved here. Now with all the cut backs....and lack of funding due to the changes....I am sure our school is going to go down. WIth that being said....my son was always behind in reading...that was until he had an awesome teacher who took him under his wing and helped him soar!~ Now he is not a lover of reading, however, he is where he should be. I sure wish he loved to read...any tips???

  26. Bernie // April 6, 2010 at 1:40 AM  

    Debbie I do find this mind boggling, when are kids allowed to be kids, why are we having them taking test and competing at such a young age......sometimes I don't think technology is helping the family unit or social skills at all.......:-) Hugs

  27. VKT // April 6, 2010 at 6:52 AM  

    Wow....Debbie,

    I could do a post on that. I got my M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction with a K-12 emphasis in reading. What grade is he in? I love challenges.

  28. VKT // April 6, 2010 at 6:53 AM  

    Good point Bernie,

    Kids really do need time to be kids. We do a lot of learning through play and the children learn so much!

  29. Stacey // April 6, 2010 at 8:25 AM  

    Sad thing is when these test show that the kids are not where they should be, then standards are lowered, causing difficulty for the smart kids. They are no longer challenged and do get bored - which in turns leads others to believe that they are ADD or ADHD and then they put these poor kids on medicine which basically sedates them.
    But then that is my opinion.
    Hope on over to my site today, the "There is life..." You can laugh at what the 6 year old said this past week.
    Kids are so amazing and fun! Glad they have you to care about them!

  30. cbright123 // April 6, 2010 at 9:41 AM  

    congrats on winning my book, Another Day, Another Story, from my sister's blog (mageebaby). i really hope that you enjoy it! And thanks again for the Birthday wishes! It was a wonderful birthday in part to you and the other nice bloggers that wished me a happy birthday! Thanks!!!

  31. VKT // April 6, 2010 at 9:46 AM  

    Thanks so much for your comment Stacey. I agree. From my experience, too many children are being put on medication in the public schools.

  32. VKT // April 6, 2010 at 9:47 AM  

    Thanks so much Mageebaby....I am looking forward to reading all about your sister.

    Blessings

  33. Kelly // April 12, 2010 at 9:41 PM  

    Herin NC as a homeschooler, I have to give my son a nationally standardized achievement test every year. I really dislike having to put him through that. I know what he is learning because I am the one teaching him. But I have to do a lot of research and still play guessing games as to what will be on the test, then I have to get him used to being timed, all for a useless test that the state doesn't even check to make sure he's taken. Grrr.

  34. veterankindergartenteacher // April 13, 2010 at 9:20 PM  

    How frustrating Kelly not to mention a waste of your son's time. Bless your heart. I am in NC too. If you ever need anything curriculum wise, don't hesitate to ask me.