Tuesday, March 15, 2011

PSSA left behind

So the PSSAs have started here. My kids aren't taking them.

For two weeks my kids tried to spread the word about the testing, that kids didn't actually have to take it, that their parents could simply and easily arrange for them to have an exemption. Most kids refused to believe them. A some did, however, and a few of them had parents that were willing to stand up and do what needed to be done to protect their children from pointless stress.

On the other side were third graders who thought that extra snacks and extra recess would more than make up for full days of testing. Plenty of children were really stressed out and now are feeling even worse. I know several kids whose parents assured me that their children were fine about it. No worries. But these same kids told my kids, and a couple even told me, that they were very anxious about the testing, their stomachs hurt, they were having headaches, and so on.

Yesterday my guys came home from school with tales of very jealous classmates who now wish that they had believed. Being tested like this sucks.

I saw the tests beforehand. In addition to the stress of just being tests for hours at a time, the tests themselves would be stress inducing because they are poorly designed tests. I did have to sign a confidentiality agreement so I can't say exactly what was on the tests, but if you look on the PA Dept of Ed website, you can see some samples. Questions that are vague, confusing, or poorly worded. Questions with more than one right answer or with no right answer. Math problems that our wonderfully horrible TERC/Pearson "Investigations" curriculum has not prepared kids to solve.

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