3 Things To Think About if You Opt Your Child Out of Testing
Have you ever had to be a pioneer for one of your kiddos? In my head it seems that being a pioneer could be pretty nice. Well, after you've been laughed at and scorned your courage will hopefully earn you a spot in the history books or at least as a hero in your child's memory. But there is no doubt that being a pioneer means you are on the cusp of something like 'I don't know-ness.' You know you are doing the right thing but you're not exactly sure it will give you the results that you are looking for. I imagine African American parents who sent their children to integrated schools and white parents today who send their children to schools where there is more diversity are considered pioneers. Unfortunately in cases where you are carving out a brand new path time is the only way to gauge the fruit of your pioneer ventures. Many parents are becoming pioneers in the standardized testing movement. Test scores are in no way an indication of a child’s intelligence. Research has clearly pointed out over the years that standardized tests are rigged in a way that students, on average, who do not have middle class parents with a vast educational background do not do well. Many of these same middle class parents are opting to not have their children take state standardized tests. I can dig it. But, when I see posts and #optout online I can't help but wonder....do those parents have any reservations about what they are doing on behalf of their child? Are they fully confident that allowing their child to not take a standardized test in elementary or middle school will not show up to haunt them later on? I suppose if most parents ban together eventually schools and state and federal education departments will have to make an adjustment on testing. In theory this sounds great. But in actuality opting out of taking a standardized test won’t account for the socio economic gap and educational gap many parents of color and their children face. Additionally if other parents don’t follow suit than the efforts to opt out could be for naught and meanwhile the next school your child is set to attend is asking for past years test scores. Meaning when it comes to opting out of standardized testing pioneering is great, as long as you are a bit flexible...and patient with the results.
3 Things to Think about if You do Decide to Opt Out:
- Report cards vs state standardized test scores - On average teachers make their tests for their students. Report cards may reflect how well your child did with their teachers test and....quite possibly how many times they let them retake the test. Standardized tests, however, are a one shot thing made by a separate entity from your child's teacher and school. Sometimes the teacher’s report card grade does not match standardized test score results.
- How will you figure out what they learned this school year? - Where we live when the test scores come home the school includes a small bulleted lists of concepts and skills my child needs to work on. Ummmm...I kinda like that. While the teachers test may have told me she/he mastered a skill the standardized test may say otherwise. The test may be wrong, but I'd like to find out for myself double check with extra work at home than just assume my child will end the school year knowing it all.
- What will the school use for the next year? - Let's say your little budding genius has their sights on a super rock star Magnet or Charter school. Or perhaps you believe your kiddo should be in gifted and talented classes but they haven’t been asked yet. Most schools use standardized test scores to determine your child’s academic standing as it pertain to invitations into accelerated/honors classes and Magnet programs. Make sure you know the schools alternative if they don't have test scores to present.