OEA Guest Blog | Sarah, Western Reserve Education Association / OEA
I want to paint a picture for others struggling with their children and testing.
I want lawmakers and politicians to see what this is doing to our youngest learners.
Like many other third-grade students, our daughter is taking the Third-grade Reading Guarantee.
We are blessed with a bright child that has a love of reading. She also has an Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder as well as anxiety.
She is on a 504 Education Plan and receives accommodations for standardized testing.
As the day of the Third-grade Reading Guarantee test approached, she was beside herself with anxiety in a roller coaster of emotions ranging from extreme sadness to feeling out of control.
On the day of the test, all morning, while preparing to leave for school, she alternated between crying and whimpering.
Her biggest fear was not the test. It was not being retained in third grade. And it was not her inability to type or read well. Her biggest worry was…sitting still. This articulate, bright, above grade-level reader was worried about the ability to remain seated for the test. She said to me, “Mom, I can’t sit still for that long. I’m not allowed to get up and I can’t sit still!”
Why have we done this to our children?
Why is an eight-year-old child, or any child, expected to sit in front of a computer and type multi-paragraph essays? This does not prove whether someone is an excellent reader. It proves who can pay attention, who has good computer skills, and who has grit to maintain the testing process.
At the end of the day, our daughter did well in the fall testing period — amazingly well — scoring at the top of her district.
She’s going onward to the fourth grade and doesn’t need to worry anymore about the Third-grade Reading Guarantee. But, here’s the clincher; she will take the test again in the spring! Still, she must endure another round of testing even though she proved four months earlier that she can read at grade level. She must experience this level of anxiety all over again and for no reason. She is beside herself with worry, crying, and not wanting to go to school.
I ask again, why are we doing this to our children?
*The 504 Education Plan is developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives accommodations that will ensure their academic success and access to the learning environment.
Sarah is a proud parent, educator and a member of the Ohio Education Association