Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I've got the low down, no fair, standardized testing blues.

Over the last few weeks I’ve written a few homeschooling posts meant to inspire. Some tell how we do this, some why, some get to the nitty gritty of what we use, and others remind everyone they don’t have to do it all. Hummm, remember the (Biblical) phrase, ‘Pride goeth before a fall?’…well…I got the kids Iowa tests and G’s yearly Scottish Rite check up test yesterday.

How do I put this? My kids are, well…average on most things, below average on a few things and slightly above average on even fewer things.

I personally hate standardized testing and could list 10 reasons why I can discount all that it said, but, the thing is, it didn’t really tell me anything I don’t already know.

In the language arts department (even my dyslexic one) scored average to high, with the exception of spelling.

In science they were average to high.

In social studies (what does social studies even mean anyway?) they were high.

But in math, well let’s just say it was not pretty. For any of them.

Sigh, sadly this reflects me as the teacher. The areas they scored high? Areas I love and am good at. The areas they did not (spelling and math) are my areas of weakness.

I can read over and over all the posts I’ve written before that remind me why I am doing this. But when you see it all there on paper, well…it’s hard.

There is nothing like seeing you’re children’s intelligence broken down into black markings on a page. Maybe we should just not do any science, history, reading or writing, and just do spelling and math this year. I guess that would take some of the workload away from me.

The thing is, I know that my kids’ intelligence is higher than the sum of their test scores. But we work so hard. Homeschooling is so much a part of who we are as a family that you expect to see great things on the paper. When you put so much of yourself into something, when you work so hard, you expect to see reward. There should be clapping and balloons and parades! But instead there are lackluster test scores.

I know, I know. I am not doing this to impress anyone or even to create children that are smarter than you’re children. I am homeschooling because it is what GOD wants me to do. I know, I ask Him every year.

It should be okay that the Iowa test people are not impressed with my children. I just want them to get to Heaven one day and hear “Well done good and faithful servant.”

But today, I’m a bit disappointed that the Iowa people were unimpressed…


Our Family of Five said...

I know how you feel, but I really hate those tests. I try hard each year to make it 'not' matter. I tell the kids, we're only doing this because its state law. As far as I'm concerned it means nothing. But then when the scores come in the mail...........--sigh--

Dana said...

I'm glad we don't have to test in our state. But don't forget all the things that cannot be tested. Some of them are more important. : )

Tonya said...

Part of the problem is that when you homeschool you so badly want to show everyone that what you are doing is "right" and the BEST education. Therefore our kids should be scoring in the top 10%, right? :-) Doesn't help that you hear about homeschool kids who make it to Harvard, etc. I don't have to do standardized testing and am SOOOOO thankful. I have such a hard time even admitting to non-homeschoolers that my 9 year old is behind in math and reading. I'm happy to tell everyone that my 6 year old is reading WAY ahead of grade level, etc. PRIDE. You are so so so right. Well, Trish, thankfully God doesn't care about the score. He cares about relationships. You have put His priorities as your priorities. Well done Tricia!

jewlsntexas said...

Before I moved I helped to coordinate the state required standardized testing for our county - and the very first thing they taught us in training was that the test scores aren't worth the paper they're written on - and that it is just a means to an end in fulfilling the state requirement. I have one friend who never let her kids see their scores - and thought that was so wise. It really doesn't matter. Kids in the public schools are passed from grade to grade scoring the absolute lowest on those same tests.

Thanks for your comment on my post about freedom. Having an asthmatic child I get a little crunchy about smoking in public - but the freedom thing is still the issue. If I go somewhere there is smoking, I don't have to go - because I can't change the whole world to suit my preferences.

Tricia said...

You are all very sweet. Thanks for the kind words. I do know that they can't test for everything.

My children's relationship with the Lord for one.

And you are right Tonya, it is pride that makes us want to show off our super smart kids. I love to tell people how well my oldest reads and how my E loves to learn on her own and is quite smart.

But let's just not talk about math. :o)

I'm trying to remind myself why we tested in the first place. (we are not required to) It was to help them, especially the oldest, learn how to take these kinds of tests.

They have to know how to take standardized tests for college. Just the whole bubble in the answer thing threw the E.

So I accomplished my goal. We learned how to take a standardized test. But I don't think I'm going to share the results with them.

David said...

Standardized testing is getting removed from businessed too. Not good. has a good post on this.