What do you think about State Testing for school children

@KMPierce (165)
United States
August 27, 2009 1:10pm CST
I live in the State of Texas and our children, starting at 3rd grade, are required to take the "TAKS" test. It's the state standardized test for Texas. I'm not sure if every state has standardized testing. The children are required to pass the reading and math test before they are allowed to move ahead to the next grade. If they don't pass they have to attend summer school, regardless of the grades they made in the classroom. They are given several chances to take this test, but still are unable to move ahead if they don't pass. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand I understand that education is lacking in the United States and our children should be tested to ensure they are learning and receiving a proper education. However, I'm not sure that the pressure at such a young age is appropriate. I believe that it adds to other pressures our kids face today and it sets them up to dislike school even more than is normal. My son is now in 3rd grade and the anxiety that he had at the end of 2nd grade was incredible... he begged me to homeschool him so he wouldn't have to attend school and take these test. I don't believe this is a healthy way to educate our children. I would love to hear anyone thoughts on this.
1 person likes this
7 responses
• United States
27 Aug 09
I believe most educators and scientists who study learning among children would say that the earlier children learn the more they are able to learn later. To be soft on their standard of education early on may slow them down later on when it really counts as in getting in to a really good college. Competition is going to get tougher as a child grows up and after high school trying to get that all important job or entrance into a good college is going to be very, very competitive. I think young children are resilient enough at early age to handle this pressure, to learn how to handle the pressure early rather than later, I think would be of benefit. Maybe the problems in our school system is the pressure has not been there before. In the past and probably still is, the school system would routinely have the attitude "Little Johnny even though he cannot read is going to be passed along anyway". What good does that do little Johnny?
@KMPierce (165)
• United States
27 Aug 09
That is try that the school system's standards have not been high enough and I agree that no one should be moved along if they are unable to do the work or pass. What I'm concerned with is the rule concerning these test (at least in the Texas- i have no idea what others states policies are). Regardless of how the child does in the class, with homework, and other test if they don't pass the state test they don't pass the grade. I know for myself I was an honor student and did very well in school, however when it came time for any test I was so nervous and never did very well. Thankfully I had my other work to pull those grades up. This is not the case now. Again, this is why I have mixed feelings about the state testing.
• United States
27 Aug 09
Hi KMPierce, I will agree with you in that it causes stress to our kids. My son had the very same request for homeschooling last year in his 3rd grade. It broke my heart, I had to sit and really think about the decision, we discussed the pros and cons and in the end he is the one that decided that it would be better to stay in school. We did however find better ways of preparing for tests, new study habbits, better/different eating habbits. As parents you know that we have to be the forward thinkers for their peace of mind and ours. I too understand both ends of the discussion, it is just frustrating, especially when, like you said, if the grades are great, it still makes no differance. Hopefully, something better will be arranged.
@KMPierce (165)
• United States
27 Aug 09
I in no way would homeschool... but it is heartbreaking to see your child sad and stressed. There does have to be a better way to evaluate the kids and their learning. I don't have a solution- wish I did!
@zoey7879 (3104)
• United States
28 Aug 09
With these types of tests, there are just as many pros as their are cons. I, personally, don't have a lot of faith in their accuracy. It places extra anxiety on these children at such young ages, but at the same time shows them the importance of paying attention and studying. I can remember often times just filling in any old circle just to get the crap done. My daughter has testing this year, and it goes on ALL day every day for 2 weeks. I find that to be a tad bit excessive - they're not going into brain surgery or trying for Tingen medals tomorrow! However, when I lost out on scholarships to my class valedictorian who wasn't even aware that there are 50 states in the United States (This was in 1996 btw), I was pretty friggin livid. In the ideal world, if the test results were properly applied, our children overall might be better educated. Instead, they get slapped with their individual results, in most cases the parents, educators, and child never come together to find out what learning techniques are working or why their child hasn't learned this or that necessity.... The overall results and comparisons vs breakdown analysis and solutions usually come into play years down the road, which in some cases, can result in specific problems going unnoticed until it's almost too late to make corrections.. if noticed at all. I think that an upside to these tests, are that it can make an indication of those who are cheating or using unethical means throughout the year to make good grades, and bring both the educators and the students into the question..... Of course, how often that actually does happen....
@psycospaz (320)
• United States
27 Aug 09
I agree with testing, but I disagree at the same time. I think that we should teach our kids what they need to know for life, not is what is on the tests. It seems like every school is all about 'test prep' and reviewing for these standardized tests and not actually teaching anything. Shouldn't it be if they were teaching the right things in the first place the children would have no problems with the test and be able to pass with out all of the prep and cramming that the schools cram into their already full curriculum? I just feel that a lot is being lost because so many schools are so worried about these tests. If they worry about teaching then the testing will be easy.
• United States
27 Aug 09
KM, Washington state also has testing requirement that start in fourth grade. and they take them every other year. students who don't pass can go on to the next grade but they have to pass all tests before they can graduate high school. so far my kids have passed or been close to passing so I'm not too worried. I agree that third grade is too early to be pressured into passing these tests. and every year is definitely too often to take them. Laura Bush was a teacher and the first lady of Texas, wasn't she? I wonder if she had a part in these requirements in Texas. not that she isn't a great woman/teacher. My biggest problem with the state required testing is that the teachers have to teach according to the test and it leaves less time for their creative teaching projects and unique experiences for the students. but I watch jay Leno's 'Jaywalk' segments and wonder what, if anything they were taught in school! some of them don't even know who the first president was or how many stars are on the american flag! so there are definitely some empty spaces in the education of our young people.
@lynnemg (4539)
• United States
27 Aug 09
Although these tests can sause our kids to go into panic mode, I think that they are really a good idea. The reasoning is this, whether we, as parents want to admit it or not, in the classroom, kids have the oportunity to cheat on assignments. Not all kids do, but those that do cheat do not get grades that reflect their actual abilities. These tests are designed not only to see where each student stands academically, but also to evaluate the teachers and their methods. I, personally, would rather have my child held back so he/she can really learn the skills than to simply be moved forward because he/she APPEARS to know the skills. AS far as the pressure it puts on the kids, I think that all tests in school place pressure on them, and they need to understand that, as with any other test, all that is expected is that they do their best. Sometimes, just knowing that whether they pass or fail, we, as parents will still love them and not become angry or disappointed, makes all the difference in the world.
@dreamr802 (987)
• United States
27 Aug 09
Up in CT we do have standardized testing (CAPT)...but we don't do it after every single grade. You do it when you reach high school and I believe it was only 10th grade...but if you don't pass it's not like you can't move on to the next grade...you just have to retake the test. I don't remember what happens if you never pass...plus for the life of me I can't remember the name of the test. I dont' think it was too bad for us but then again we didn't have to do it every year. I think now they have more tests for our state but then again I wouldn't know because my brother and sister are both in college now so we are out of the school system. I know in NY they have those standardized tests every year in order to move on. One of my exboyfriends had to take it the year that we were dating and I remember him and his friend being so stressed. I don't think it is right to do it after every year...maybe every other year might be better.