Saturday, October 13, 2012

Testing anxiety in the 3rd grader

Third graders at N's school take the the CogAt test for advanced program, and it has been a small weight hanging in my mind.

I recognize now how little standardized testing counts in the big scheme of things----who cares what I scored on the ACT or the SAT or the PRAXIS?  No one ever asked during interviews what my scores were.

But I also recognize how much standardized testing counts in the little being placed in advanced program classes, which in this neck of the woods and probably others, means classes that generally don't have the "behavior" problem kids.

Had I not been privy to what tracking actually means in a school system, I don't think I would be so.....jumbled in my feelings.  But I taught the advanced program students, and I taught the honors students, and I taught the comprehensive students.  While I taught the same stuff to these kids, the learning environment was much different.  The AP classes were quiet, generally requiring very little direction or focus from me.  This was not the case with the Honors or Comprehensive classes.  The AP classes moved much faster, read more difficult books.

The funny thing is that I much more enjoyed teaching the Honors and Comprehensive students.  I felt like they got more from what I did, appreciated it more, had greater leaps and bounds in their progress than what I saw in the AP classes.

Education looks different when you're a parent than when you are childless, teaching someone else's children.

N has essentially psyched herself out over the AP test, getting so worked up yesterday during a test practice that she had to come home due to stomach pain.  I haven't put this pressure on her and will spend this weekend explaining to her that she just needs to relax, read the directions and do her best.

Remind her that she will have other opportunities to take the test later in elementary school if needed.

Remind her that it doesn't mean she isn't smart or creative or any of those things.  It is a test that cannot possibility describe her possibilities.

Remind myself that her own father was in Honors classes in our school district and this didn't keep him from getting a good education and making a good living.  

1 comment:

Swistle said...

Yes, even if she's only an Honors student, she may still be able to defy the odds and make something of her life! Ha ha ha!