My AHA Moment About The Tests

by JAC and Ben's Mom 8. April 2015 08:15

Everyone has those moments when you just "know" this is bad. These are mine. 

I personally had two “aha” moments. One for each kid. The first came when my A student, my youngest was in 3rd grade.  Spring allergies, an ocular allergy to tree pollen that effected my son’s vision, concentration and participation caused my son to miss about 6-8 weeks of school every spring. He would come to school , be marked present, stay for a half hour or an hour until his eyes were so swollen, itchy and tearing he could not function and would be sent home where I basically home schooled him on all of his work for weeks. By the time the 3rd grade assessments came our 504 request for an air conditioner/air cleaner in the classroom to make it possible to attend school during the tree pollen season had been turned down twice. But then the tests came. Although it was not important to the building principal that my son attend school for weeks out of the year, it was very important to her  that he take the State Assessments. An air conditioned room with a proctor was arranged. They were happy to provide my A student , my child with an air conditioned room to collect my child’s great test score, but not to provide that so he could learn with a teacher, with his peers in a healthy environment.  That was my first clue that the test scores were viewed as more important than my child.  They offered me the same in 4th grade and shortly after the 504 was approved and air conditioner was placed in the classroom and his days of missing school were done, I spent the summer educating myself and my kids so we could refuse the tests the next year.  He is an A student. He knows the tests are unfair, he refuses because it is the right thing to do, for himself and for kids that struggle.

My other “aha” moment came when my older son, who in addition to getting academic intervention through an IEP, also had a medical diagnosis of anxiety that effected his learning and classroom experience. I really wanted to refuse him out of the tests in 6th grade. But all concerned, teachers, guidance, my son felt that being singled out for refusing may be more stressful for him. My son, suffered the fate of many of our special ed students and general ed students who have IEPs and  who read, comprehend or do math just below grade level and  who only get limited accommodations on the state tests. A few questions in he needed a word or sentence read or explained, simplified. But he didn’t have that option on these tests. So anxiety kicked in and the test was done for him. Instead of being able to finish he wrote on his test booklet “Dont use my scor to rate my teacher she is grate the test is bad”. That is the way he would have wrote it at the time. He came home and told me that day what happened. 3 days of that, and again with the math. He was not the score he got, those tests didn’t show what he knew or what his talented teachers taught, his teachers were great. But even a 6th grade knows when things are “not right” and those tests are not right.

We spent the summer getting educated and informed so he could refuse the tests. We have had great teachers at Connetquot who have put a lot of time and energy into the continued success and forward movement of this child of mine and many others. I knew then, I had to protect my child from being in that situation again. And we knew we didn’t want an invalid score used to rate his wonderful teachers or to label and sort our child when he was bright and capable but learned differently and at a different pace.

 

My children and their teachers are more than a score. 

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