Friday, December 12, 2008

Standardized Testing

I'm administering the California Achievement Test to Bluebird this week to see where she stands in regards to Kindergarten work.

It's really hard...for me!

I know what Bluebird knows, and I have a mini-anneurism each time I see her pencil hover over the circle to a wrong answer. Sometimes I think she just doesn't understand the question very well, because they are worded really weird. So I try to explain the question in terms that she can understand, but then I wonder if I'm helping her too much or if that's a big no-no...so I decided that I needed to come up with a way for us to complete the test in an honest manner.

I don't look at what she's marking. At all. I turn into a proctor robot. It's the only way I can guarantee that her answers will be truly her answers. If she was sitting in a classroom, she'd be left on her own to answer the question anyway, so that's how I'm going to survive this. Besides, it's just Kindergarten, it is so not a big deal whatsoever. There's just that little test-taking demon in my head that wants her to do extremely well. Mom and Teacher is a hard road to travel. But I'm doing my best to keep it honest.

Who knew the stresses involved with administering a flimsy little Kindergarten test?!?! The whole point of the test is to see where she will be this coming year, not to earn a scholarship or grant entrance to Harvard. Stop stressing. Yeesh.

And to answer the un-asked question: I'm having her take the test in order to establish a healthy homeschool habit. I have heard the CPS horror stories regarding homeschooling families, so I'm taking my pre-cautions in case some well-meaning neighbor calls my kids in for truancy or the like. Having an arsenal of test scores is a great way to fend off the likes of CPS. The tests also give me some much-appreciated feedback on strengths and weaknesses, and standardized tests are a necessary evil when it comes to the future with the SAT and ACT and all that fun stuff. I figure, my girls might as well be comfortable taking them.

4 comments:

  1. I absolutely HATED administering those tests... Even as a teacher it was painful to see the students mark the wrong answers. And yes, you are supposed to tell them only what it says in the instructions. Nothing else. Like if anyone talks that way anyway! Can you see I'm not a big fan of these tests? :)

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  2. Yikes! I always felt so bad administering those tests to kindergarteners. If it makes you feel any better, Emily is doing better than ALL of the kids I tested who were midway through kindergarten. Don't fret:)

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  3. I think it's great that you're practicing giving and taking the tests together. Like it or not, they are a necessary evil of schooling and I think it's great to learn about them early on. As a teacher you just have to remind yourself over and over that this is just ONE indicator of a student's knowledge. Is it fair that it's the most universally accepted and consulted indicator? No. But that's kind of the way it is. Way to be impartial though. I actually had a teacher at my school get fired over offering more instructions, and rewording test qeustions for his class to match "his" way to saying it. It makes sense to do that, but a more honest way is just to learn to talk test language yourself while teaching a concept, in addition to the language and phrasing you would normally use. Good luck!

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  4. I have a friend that is a Kindergarten teacher. There were a few questions on there that had incorrect wording. In other words, the tests didn't match up with what she had taught her students that year. She said it was so frustrating and couldn't change it at that time. Since then, she has spoken to her boss and others at the district office.

    Are you in California then? I lived there before my daughter was school age. I don't think I'd be brave enough, or maybe I would, to homeschool in that state. I know others who have with much success. But I love living in Florida now. Homeschooling is the wise choice around here. Mothers of public school children say they WISH they could homeschool. I never heard that before moving here. I lived in Tennessee for a few years. There I heard a lot of criticism.
    Hopefully, the views on homeschooling will change as the years go by.
    Katie

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