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Friday, January 27, 2012

Mom Guilt

My husband HATES standardized tests.  In a post awhile ago, I believe I mentioned that there are a few things about his profession that he is passionately against.  Standardized tests is one of them....and don't even mention "No Child Left Behind."  That'll send him off on a tirade for sure.

A friend shared this on facebook the other day, and I instantly thought of the Warden.

Well, I now understand one of the reasons my husband hates standardized tests....what it does to parents.

We received the results from one such test about one of our children yesterday, and the results were not good.  They weren't bad, they just weren't what I would have expected from this child.

I woke at 5:00 this morning and COULD NOT get back to sleep.  What happened?  Where did I fail?  Were my own studies too much in the way during those early formative years?  Did I neglect to do something I should have?  Did I feed this child too much or too little of something?  Where did I go wrong?

For some reason, it had to be me.  It HAD to.  At 5am, I couldn't get my brain to think anything else.

The Warden turned over in his sleep, and I took that opportunity to address the subject.  I shared what I was worrying about, and he scoffed.  Of course he did.  He hates those tests.  He said, "That's silly.  All that test means is that that's not the way our child learns.  It's a non-verbal test, and it's timed...."

This got me thinking....I am a verbal learner.  If I had taken this same test, would I have done better?  That would be interesting to see.

Anyway, I can't seem to get back on track and stop feeling like a failure.  No matter what the Warden says, the mother guilt won't let up.


Christy said...

Julie, put down the mom-guilt and slowly, calmly turn around and walk away!! I'm with the Warden, I HATE those tests. I don't consider myself stupid or anything but I totally bombed the SAT in high school, while at the same time maintaining a 3.5 GPA. When Rob saw my scores after we were married he actually laughed at me, he didn't think it was possible for me to have gotten such a low score. But I suck at anything with a bubble sheet and a timer. Don't worry, it's not a reflection on you as a mother. The best part about those SAT's? The kid who skipped class, slacked off and was an all around goof off scored way higher than I did. He just knew how to test well.

buzygrizz said...

Seriously! Satandarized (that started out as a typo, but I think I'll leave it, haha) testing is a lazy way to assess and compare children and schools. I firmly believe that QUALITY of education is so much more important, and it is easy to lose sight of that when bubble-sheet tests become the litmus test for education.

For example, a history class can be memorization of a million facts and dates. But until we understand the character of the people we are studying, why they made the choices they did, and why the outcomes were what they were - then we will never learn from their successes or failures. And isn't that the point of learning history anyway?? The world becomes a better place not when we are robot-smart, but when we synthesize ideas together in new ways, reaching out to those in need, and collaborating with others to find solutions and actually do something about it.

As a mother, you have a special opportunity to see your child for more than the test administrators can - as a caring and hard-working individual. If the child was shirking in his/her studies, tests are just an indication that the child may need to apply himself/herself harder. If the child is doing their best, then he/she can try to "learn how to take tests" better. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it can help. My sister is horrible at taking standardized testing, yet she studies the material harder than anyone I know. She would often second guess herself when filling in the bubbles and would over-analyze simple questions. Learning how to test really helped her in college, and she chose a field of study that was less rote. For the ACT/SAT, I would recommend EVERYBODY do lots of practice tests and learning how to take them efficiently. I (a good test taker to begin with) raised my ACT score 6 points in a little over a year thanks to some additional science classes and LOTS of practice test. Fortunately, most colleges place a lot of importance on essays, etc. for admittance. Sadly, I know a couple perfect and near-perfect ACT/SAT scorers who flunked out of BYU (mostly because of work ethic, and because education was now heavily thought-based and not bubblesheet-based). Knowing your learning style can help too (maybe reading the questions in your head would help?) - I am a visual/physical learner so I can go faster on tests, so I had to always do the reading ahead of time (taking notes while reading) and taking college lecture notes like MAD.

So yeah, the Warden is right about these kind of tests. Don't sweat it, and focus on raising a good kid - he/she is more than a test score anyway. :)


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