Wednesday, April 15, 2009

School Testing

Our school system is administering state tests tomorrow and Friday for the 4th graders. My oldest son has spent the last two weeks working on the practice packet for the OCCT testing, which is the standardized testing for Math and Reading. I just hear the word test and my stomach starts hurting. Oh, the stress!

Total sidebar - I was studying to be a financial advisor in 2002. After a year of studying, I went to take the test. A 70% was passing. The first test I made a 67%......second test 68%.......and....finally passed the crazy test on the third try. Even the test administrators were rooting for me. So sad. Can you tell I hate tests? Don't tell my kids though...I told them I was the best test taker in the world in school and would wake up everyday just happy to get to test my knowledge that day. That's the privilege of being the parent!

Back to the testing story - My oldest son, Tyler, is the exact opposite of my youngest. He is a worrier. My youngest Hunter is a complete laid-back "non-worrier". It's really cute to get their perspectives on situations. Tyler analyzes and Hunter just brushes it off and goes onto the next situation. I love them both, just as they are. It makes for a very interesting household.
Worrying does have its benefits. Tyler worries about his grades so he tries really hard at school. He worries whether he is going to pass his test the next day and if I'm going to order the latest skateboard he saw on Ebay. I think it's the reason he's in the gifted and talented program at school. He pushes himself to always do his best. But, this worrying thing is driving me bananas when it comes to the OCCT tests. The students have to study every night and practice filling out those old, stale paper smelling booklets. The parents have to sign the forms everyday showing that every problem was reviewed and each answer carefully thought out.
The students take these tests in 3rd and 4th grade but don't find out their individual scores until the 5th grade. That's so confusing. Anyone else out there think that's a little odd? Do they really find out sooner and I misunderstood?
Tyler just came into the living room and said he couldn't sleep. When we asked him why, he replied that the tests were tomorrow. I can't remember ever worrying about a test. I was more concerned about who was going to play tetherball with me on the playground. For the record, it was a boy named Gunther from Mrs. Mihurra's class. I think I might have beaten him once or twice.

Granted, I have to admit I'm not a teacher and really don't know that much about this testing, but I think it's tied to state education funding for our schools. Maybe this is why the teachers are pushing the kids so hard, I don't know. It has been a good thing because Tyler even pulled out his Math book tonight to go over decimals for the test.

The main worry Tyler has is this - apparently the teachers told the class that they can't go to lunch until all the classes are done with the testing. That is a huge issue with a 10-year old boy. And, I think it's steak fingers and mashed potatoes tomorrow. It's a good day in the cafeteria.

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