Before we can get to the glorious sleeping-in, not as scheduled, homework-free days of summer, we have to get through these next few weeks. That includes the end-of-grade(EOG) standardized tests that my oldest will be taking for the first time as a third grader.
Lucky him, this is the year that our state has adopted the Read to Achieve guidelines. The idea behind it, I’m in agreement with. That all of our children should be proficient at reading by the end of third grade. That we don’t let these kids slip through the cracks, we catch it early, etc.
But the thing is… this places extraordinary importance on the EOG results. If a child doesn’t pass the reading portion(an 82% or higher), they don’t pass the third grade.
It used to be that if a child didn’t pass the EOG, you could use their work from the year to show that they really have mastered what they needed to master(it also used to be that the passing score was much lower).
But not this year. You must pass the EOG. Or you go to summer school unless you want to be retained. Even then, going to 4th grade isn’t a guarantee. It’s like it’s become the be-all, end-all indicator to what our children have learned. I picture Gollum from The Lord of the Rings hovering over the stack of tests and calling them his precious.
There is another way to get around the EOG requirement- you could pass a certain number of reading passages given during the second half of the year, testing 12 different reading skills. Some schools only give these to the kids who they feel might be at risk of failing the EOG. Our district chose to give them to all third graders.
Which is a giant time suck. Though to be honest, I’m glad they put that safety net in place. Only about 50% of the kids in our school passed the reading portion last year(and it’s a good school!). It’s not just a small portion of parents who should be worried about their children passing, but almost half of them.
Even if a child does well in school, they might test poorly, they might stress out, they might get offline(meaning they bubble in the correct answer on the wrong number line), they might have a bad day, they might read too much into a question, they could get frustrated by the length of the tests… there are any number of things that could cause them to get lower than that required 82%.
It seems like way too much emphasis to place on a test. And the safety net of the other evaluations seem to take away from actual instruction.
I get it, in a way. Someone, somewhere, wants a definitive marker of “THIS! this is how we know a child is ready to leave the third grade! This is how we know they are a reader!” But I think that their classwork throughout the year has shown that, too. And shown it more accurately than a single test would.
Don’t even get me started on why math is not part of this equation, even though the kids take a math EOG as well. And for the record, my third grader has already passed the safety net evaluations, so this isn’t just a concern about my child passing, it’s with how the system works in general.
How do you feel about standardized testing?
Last Week’s #PYHO Highlights
- Even Stone Can Break from A Boy, A Girl, and the Marine Corps
- Sometimes You Need to Stop and Play with Play Dough from An Everyday Blessing
- Thank You for Reminding Me I Was Supposed to Be Giving Birth This Week from Metamorphosis
JOIN IN POUR YOUR HEART OUT
Click if you want to find out more about Pour Your Heart Out. Remember, it’s about what you want to pour out: it’s personal, so there isn’t an assigned topic. It’s also about being supportive of others who are sharing: so visit other linkers and be kind with your comments. Linking up? Please visit at least two of the linkers and show them some support in the form of a comment or a share!