I was never good at tests . . . especially math.
I’ll never forget one year in fourth grade – this would be around 1977 – we took a special test. Our math teacher walked between our desks, placing a sharpened pencil and test packet – face down – on each one. When we turned it over, I noticed something different. At the bottom was a strange configuration of black lines: skinny, medium and wider ones.
I dreaded any kind of math test (still do). I couldn’t understand math well and tests made me anxious. So during that class, while the other kids answered the questions, I counted the lines over and over, convinced they were some sort of magic code I could crack in order to get the answers.
Later we learned the name of this new thing: it was called a barcode. Our teacher told us the paper would be put into a machine and graded somehow, but I didn’t believe her.
Testing these days is surrounded by controversy, especially when it comes to Common Core. I read a newspaper article the other day that said our School Superintendent was disappointed with the state about the level of required testing. For example, in one high school, students will be subjected to 188 tests designed mainly to assess the teachers, not the kids.
Thankfully homeschool testing is nothing like that. My kids took their national standardized tests two weeks ago (many schools use only state tests). We hired a private testing company to come to our home and administer the Woodcock Johnson III test. Our administrator is a woman we’ve used for three years; she’s child friendly, compassionate and super smart. She encourages me and the kids to keep going and finish well.
Best of all, no one gets stressed out (ok, except me the first year).
Testing is really for parents; it lets us know how our child is doing and in what areas they could use improvement.
The first year of testing was tough on all of us. I didn’t know what to expect so I worried and got myself and the kids all twisted up about it. Until something happened that I’ll never forget. I took a prayer walk and poured out my heart to God. He said, “Your kids don’t get their intelligence from you, they get it from me.”
I got schooled!
Your Turn: How do you and your kids handle testing?