Tuesday, June 11, 2013

mark your answer

High-stakes testing.

Y'all know what that is, right? It's like the bar exam, but for elementary school students.

I'm not going to argue the pros/cons of student/teacher accountability measures, because I am not educated on the issue/research enough.

But as I led a group of four first grade students through a makeup exam today, three of them cried.

And I thought, "Get it together! You're going to be taking tests for the rest of your life!!!"

But, really: will they?

The last major test I took was whatever GRE stands for. It got me into my Masters program, nearly a decade ago. Before that, it was the SAT. Before that, it was my driving test.

Now, sure, if my profession involved licensure, I would take exams with some frequency. If I was an accountant, a cosmetologist/masseuse, a member of certain law or health professions, an engineer, or a social worker, I would have taken an exam in the past decade.

But how many other jobs, from minimum wage to billionaire profits, require regular testing? What kind of real world situation are we preparing students for once they get out of school, whether that's at age 13 or age 33?

Yes: life is full of tests. There will be a million times in your career when a supervisor or a client needs something on a deadline, and you will need to be able to manage your time, multitask, and focus. Professional athletes, along with everyone else on the planet who wears a uniform, have their performance tested every time they wear said uniform.

You will be judged all the time, by strangers, friends, lovers, family. Hell, you'll be tested at least a dozen times a day just on how good of a driver you are. 

But actual Number Two pencil tests? They mostly end when you're done with school. They mostly end when you enter a profession. 

It makes you wonder why we need very young children to learn how to manage anxiety. So that we'll have fewer adults taking medication? driving drunk? abusing drugs or their spouses? So that we'll have more adults enter professions that pay living wages? stay married? exercise?

It's a nice idea, right? To tie what we learn in school with what we're going to need to know for college/careers/life?

So, on that note: tell me why you thought that outfit was a good idea, because it is the most unflattering thing I've ever seen.

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