(highly opinionated post follows, you've been warned)
Our kids start this year's round of standardized testing today. I am not a huge fan of these.
When I was a kid, I loved them. I'm a good test taker, so I always scored high, got kudos and praise, loved it. Looking at that school district's test scores now, they LOVED me, cause their scores stink these days.
As a parent, they lose their value, quickly.
Yes, I understand we need SOMEWAY to gage performance at schools on a large scale. We need to meet and exceed educational standards and milestones. These standard tests are really for the benefit of the schools, their staff, the administration, etc. The results bring bragging rights or excuses depending on the results. We've got awards, we've got schools closing. All based on these test scores. (why don't we pay teachers based on performance then, if we must gather these details, use them more appropriately, like the rest of the workforce, to give pay for performance, good teachers get paid higher, not so good teachers, get paid less)
That's why it is important for our kids to eat a good breakfast only on test days. Important to get a good night sleep, only on test days. Come to school sick to avoid missing the test. That is ridiculous. Let's get these kids prepared to do well, but only when the teachers and schools are being graded.
I will proudly say that with RARE exception, my children have had a well-rounded education, their teachers taught them, did not teach them how to score well on the test.
If the kids had a good breakfast EVERY school day, the scores would go up on their own, naturally. If the kids had a good night sleep on EVERY night before class, the test scores would go up naturally. I went many rounds with our last district superintendent on this concept. By giving these test days such a high profile the message given is that the school's performance, the teachers' performance, is more important than the performance of the individual. The students have report cards, 4 times per school year, to tell us their progress. The schools have test scores once and to the schools that is much more important.
Silly me, I thought it should be about the students.