4.16.2011

Test Time

© shoutingforha

It's that time of year again.  My boy has reached the half-way point of the Tennessee Comprehensive Achievement Program (TCAP) testing, or as the kiddos like to call it, the Tennessee Child Abuse Program.  I, myself, am partial to T-CRAP. 

I just happened to be volunteering in the school office when the tests arrived a little over a week ago.  From the way the powers that be were acting, you would have thought that the boxes contained information about who shot JFK and the ever mysterious Area 51.  Their excited voices declared, "They must remain locked in the vault at ALL times!" at least a dozen times. 

Honestly, I am not a big fan of the test.  The amount of pressure placed on school districts, principals, teachers and students seems to be a little bit out of control.  In addition, I worry that the weeks of test preparation actually take time away from actual learning.  My son has been taught far more by doing hands-on projects and reports than by simply memorizing a bunch of facts for a test.

Another problem I have with standardized testing is that I don't believe it is an accurate way to measure a child's comprehension.  My son happens to be a great tester.  He will dutifully color in the bubbles on his answer sheet with his #2 pencil and will score in the highest percentile with minimal effort.  One of his best buddies, by contrast, will have spent countless hours studying and practicing, only to achieve low marks because he struggles with this type of test.

There just has to be a better way...  And that, dear readers, is why I would like to announce that I am running for the office of President of the United States.  Just kidding.

This year, in addition to the friendly phone call from the principal reminding me to "make sure [my] child gets adequate sleep and a healthy, nutritious breakfast," the boy came home with a list of test rules.

One of them stated that if a child coughed during the test, the entire class would have to start the entire exam over again.  I am wondering if the person who came up with this brilliant rule has ever lived in Middle Tennessee during the spring.  Allergies are especially terrible this year and at least half the children in the building have a cough.  Besides, how many ten-year-old kids are smart enough to orchestrate an elaborate cheating scheme with coughing as the cues.

Another favorite was the one regulating what type of gum is permissible (chewing gum during TCAP is a special treat).  Specifically, only pre-approved, sugar-free gum is allowed during testing.  The boy and his friends informed me that the principal himself got on the intercom Wednesday afternoon to remind the children that sugary gum such as "Bubba Hubba" would not be tolerated.

I'm so glad that he is focused on the really important things.

According to my boy, the Reading/Language Arts  and Math portions of the test were "really easy."  After a nice weekend break he will take the Science and Social Studies tests on Monday and Tuesday.  I believe that both students and teachers alike will be thrilled to have the standardized testing behind them.  I think everyone is ready to get on with the actual task of learning.

2 comment(s). Leave yours!:

Chelle said... Best Blogger Tips

Mrs Ha for President!!!!!!!!!!

mshike said... Best Blogger Tips

I agree! Let's get the test over with! :)

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