April 10, 2006

Standardized Testing Humor

My son (grade 3) had a standardized test today. Yep, The Full Battery (whatever that means!). I think it is funny that the state would want to test your kids on the "full battery" (including Science and History) when you aren't even using the same curriculum, scope or sequence. It doesn't make sense, but we are law abiding citizens, so we complied. Kaden told me that he was afraid when I had to leave him in the care of other homeschool moms to take the test (parents couldn't be present), so I just told him, "Don't worry about the test. I don't care if you fail it. The state can't do anything if you fail it, so don't sweat it and just do your best!" That seemed to calm him down. He had to test from 8 am -12 noon. That's a long time to sit and answer questions in a timed test for a 3rd grade boy.

When Kaden came out after taking the test (Language and Reading portion today), I asked him... "So how do you think you did?"

"I aced it," he answered.

Such confidence! I hope he's right! I'll let you in on a little secret, though... WE DIDN'T STUDY OR PREPARE FOR IT AT ALL - NOT ONE BIT. The only thing I showed him how to do in preparation for this test was USE A CALCULATOR. They are allowing the kids (as young as third grade) to use a calculator on some of the problems... and my son has NEVER used one for Math. I don't remember using a calculator until junior high (and not that often)!

Over dinner tonight (grilled cheese and tomato soup with a side of leftover peas and onions and a little fresh cauliflower) Kaden told us that the test he took was the "Iowa Skills Test". He told me about having to make an "educated guess" on one of the "punctuation" questions. He said there was a little boy he met (a 'new friend') that was going much faster than he was. He said he only finished one part of the test faster than that little boy. His sister (age 7, grade 2) had been listening intently to him speak. She said, "I guess that other boy who went so fast was FROM IOWA, and that's why he did so good on the test."

I got a kick out of that. It is funny how kids take most things so literally.

Say a little prayer for us. We're truckless (another breakdown that will involve a tow-truck tomorrow and possibly a bill we can't afford), testing for the next two days (have to be there at 8:30am and sit around for four hours waiting), and plum tuckered out. I just popped a Benadryl because of all the pollen (we hit the park with some homeschool buddies this afternoon)... so I'm off to catch some much needed rest. Have a super Monday night and Tuesday morning!

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COD said...

I thought there were no requirements at all for homeschoolers in Texas? If you don't even have to register as a homeschooler, how can they make you take a test?

Calculators were still new and expensive when I was in high school. I remember my dad paying big bucks for a TI-30 - with the red LED's. So of course we passed math class figuring out how to make it read dirty words when turned upside down :) I don't remember it being any real use in Algebra though.

Heather said...

Oh I am ROFRLOLing at your little darling! "He must be from Iowa" oh too cute!

We had our first day of KONOS today.......patience, plant growth. I think it went well. Of course, I worry as much about what they might be absorbing NOW as when we were unschooling. Why do you think that is? We certainly had fun with it!


Maria said...

That is funny. I was supposed to help test in our area today (mine is too young only 1st grade) but had to back out at the last minute (well last night) because my boys and my van all got sick. The boys are on the mend and the van is getting a transmission overhauled. More than I can afford too....

I think you have great insight on testing. Don't make a big deal out of it. I won't be either when our time comes.

My Boaz's Ruth said...

We took Iowa Skills Test when I was a kid.

They really ARE basic skills tests. Our classes didn't use "Standardized state curriculum" (in Texas). In fact, I was generally in gifted and talented that was so busy doing special projects we didn't cover any curriculum I saw at all. But we still all took the same tests.

It was never a problem, or something I felt I needed to study for specifically. It was just something one had to take every once in a while. If nothing else, it gets you used to taking a specific kind of test :)

Sprittibee said...

There ya'll are! I was wondering what was going on with my comments section. It was like everyone was on "lurk" mode. Maybe we need to have another National DE-LURKING Day :). I have a buddy blogger who pays people a dollar for comments! I certainly don't want to have to get that drastic. I'm broke enough as it is!

COD - There aren't requirements or tests in Texas.... however, unfortunantly, I'm NOT in Texas at the present time. I live in Arkansas - that is - until my husband can get a transfer back home. I remember turning the calculators upside down to make words. That got old, though - since there was a real limit to what you could spell. ;)

The OTHER Heather :) -
My real name is Heather, too. It takes about three years to really feel like you are "in the swing of it" with Konos... or at least it did for me... and sometimes I still have my days when I wonder what I'm doing! I'm sure you all can tell.

Maria - My second grader is actually a year younger than her grade-group, so I may just say she's in 2nd grade again next year and not let her test. Or, she may bug me to death about it and I'll let her. She's very competitive with her brother. She wanted to test THIS year. My son has taken every test you can imagine, so this was not his first time to test... it was just the first time I was FORCED to test by the STATE (thankfully it wasn't the State of Texas, because we do hope to go back home someday). After Kaden's first year at home with Kindergarten, I gave him the CAT (you can purchase it online and send it back in for grading). He did great on it. Then, he took the SAT when entering private school and again at the end of his second Kindergarten year, along with another test (unsure of the name) that was similar to an IQ test. I didn't test him at the end of First Grade, but last year, I gave him the TAAS (free online from Texas school district website) for Third Grade and he passed the Reading, but barely failed the Math (we had not covered ANY third grade material, so that was understandable - he made a 67%). This is his second Third Grade test, so I am sure he did fine. I'm not worried about it, though. I know how smart he is! I like testing because it gives me an idea of what areas we need to work on... but I don't agree with TEACHING FOR THE TEST like they do in public schools, and I don't agree with FORCING HOMESCHOOLERS to test. I think homeschoolers should be free to educate their kids how they choose. That said, I would have tested him at the end of the year anyway! This just made it FREE, although it was a hassle to have to take THREE days out of my school schedule and DRIVE to the testing site (instead of doing it all at home at our own convenience like we did last year).

My Boaz's Ruth - yes, that is one thing tests do - get you comfortable with taking more tests! Oh, and it teaches you how to bubble in a circle COMPLETELY.

Scrappitydoodah said...

I think it's great that you told him not to worry about failing it.

I rarely test my kids, and Indiana doesn't require testing of homeschoolers. One of these days we might actually do a formal test, but I'm not really that concerned about it. I can see what they are learning...I don't need a state test to show me.

He must be from IOWA!

FatcatPaulanne said...

LoL about Iowa. ;-)

MisterRay said...

I will be administering the California Standards Test to my students come Monday -- they have not prepared for it. In fact, they don't even know it's coming. Personally, I think that's the whole point.-- Ray

Sprittibee said...

scrappitydoodah - There are lots of states that are pretty lenient. I'd hate to live in a really STRICT homeschool state, though. I think I would move!

Fatcatpaulanne - Are you on the catbloggers list? I may do a photo of my kitty tomorrow. She's been sitting pretty at the window wishing she could go outside lately... trying to catch bees through the glass. =^..^=

Misterray - Yes, I do think that's the point. :) I am dying to get the test results back, though! ;)



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