Common Core, DRA, MAP, Standardized Testing: What it All Means to Me

6 comments

if-you-judge-a-fish-by-its-ability-to-climb-trees

It is school conference and report card time and with 3 children in the public school system, there are a lot of numbers coming at me.  Reading test scores, math test scores, and everything in between.  Some of these numbers have been listed as “above average” and some have been listed as “below average”.  There was a time when these scores would  have meant a lot to me, but now I try to keep all the percentages in perspective.

You see, I was a strong student.  I remember taking standardized tests in school, performing well on them, and taking a great deal of pride in that.  I thought those numbers on the paper said something about who I was.  But now? In my 30’s with a beautiful family, happy marriage, and successful career? I don’t think those numbers had any bearing on where I am today.  Sure, good test scores got me into a good college and then a good graduate program…but then I landed in a job that doesn’t use one iota of that education.  What got me where I am today are not things that standardized testing could measure.  Perseverance, confidence, determination, analytical nature, an open heart and mind, and an ability to hear, read, and understand people…these are the qualities I see in myself that have allowed me to grab onto a rewarding life.

So when I am presented with my children’s test scores, I will try to remember that those numbers are simply telling me if my child was able to select the correct answers to that particular test on that particular day.  Those numbers do not measure my children’s intelligence. They do not measure my abilities as a parent. They do not measure likelihood of happiness and success in life. These are numbers that provide information to teachers and administrators (and politicians). I will let them worry about the number on the page, but as a parent, I have larger things to concern  myself with.

When I sit down with my son to go over his report card there are only 2 areas we discuss: his score on effort, and the teacher’s written comments.  Those tell me all I need to know.  Those pieces of information explain that when he arrives at school, he is ready to learn and trying his best – and also that his teacher enjoys having him as a student.  Those are the areas that tell me he is building the foundation for a successful life.

standardized test

6 comments on “Common Core, DRA, MAP, Standardized Testing: What it All Means to Me”

  1. I think standardized tests have their place as long as they’re not the only form of measurement. It should be just one piece of the pie that makes up the learning and development. They could be useful in a broad-brush way of helping to identify problem areas or as a base level for placement like reading comprehension, etc. However, I definitely agree that these test results need to be kept in perspective. Someone who performs well on tests is not guaranteed to flourish in life.

  2. YES! Years ago I became attuned through many channels to the virus that is test mania. One can readily find articles popular and scholarly that expose the all too common non-validity of standardized tests. A child who does extremely “well” on a standardized test may or may not be extremely intelligent, but a child who does not do well on a standardized test may be extremely intelligent. In my doctoral work in developmental psychology and raising my own kids–now adults with children of their own–I’ve learned and observed that intelligence is layered and comes in many forms. Standardized tests are their own industry, bought into quite readily by linear thinkers who can’t get beyond numbers to the whole child. Brava for seeing through this all to intimidating charade, moving beyond it with your own children, and sharing it with the rest of us.

  3. Yes, yes, a million times, YESSSS. I could not possibly care less about standardized test scores. I extend this to SCHOOLS as well– Greatschools scores mean nada- but I do read the parent views on schools and take them to heart. Effort scores are what I look at as well, along with teacher comments…because THOSE are the things that matter in life. Not to mention, CMTS and the like measure how your child did during say, 9-10:30 am on a random day in March– not over time! People have “off” days, or even weeks. I loved this.

  4. I love this. It’s report card time for Z too and I read hers with the same perspective. I was so happy with the things her teacher had to say about her coming to school happy and ready to learn than I was about her specific skills! I hope to keep this mindset when she gets to the testing age! Thanks!

  5. I 100% agree. If Rs teacher tells us that she is a pleasure to have in class, is hardworking, and is a friend to everyone (even the kid who is hard to be friends with) then I know I’ve done my job as a parent.

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