05 May 2016

Big Bad Test - #100DayProject - Day 035

I was reminded today why I dislike state testing. I had a mother ask me a few questions about some of the amazing teachers at my school and off-handedly mention that her daughter was really struggling with the state assessments she had just finished. I am not currently woking with this mother, but have in the past and know her children to be well-rounded and hard workers. So what's the issue with testing? Her daughter struggles a little and even though she's a hard worker, she's not a high-scoring on tests as she would like. 

The daughter recently completed her end-of-level state testing and felt so bad because her scores weren't as high as she hoped. Nothing too strange here because many students finish tests and aren't as happy with their scores, but the really sad part is that she was more concerned that her teacher wouldn't be happy with her. Her number one concern was that her teacher would be upset and not proud. This is the exact reason why I try to downplay EVERY test I give! I always tell my students that the most important thing is to try their hardest and give me their best effort. If a student gives it their all, then there is nothing more to do at the end of the year. 

As soon as the mother told me her daughter was so upset about her testing, I immediately went over to the car where the girl was sitting and had a quick chat. I looked her right in the eyes and asked her if she tried her absolute best and gave it her all. She said yes but still looked upset. So I told her to not worry because if she were MY student (maybe in a couple of years I'll be lucky enough to have her in my class) I would have high-fived her and congratulated her for the effort. She looked shocked and that's when I told her my secret, I HATE state testing too, but was proud she gave her it all! It was amazing to see her whole composure change when she heard that and she looked like she was a little happier, and my work was done.

We need to remember school, especially elementary school, should be enjoyable. The more kids enjoy coming to see us each day the more likely we are to help them become continual learners. Plus, the longer kids enjoy school, the more likely they are going to consider continuing their education and achieving their higher educational goals. But most of all, we NEED to remember that our students are more than a test or a score! We need to make sure we really believe that as well as help our students to also believe that! 

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