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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Too much testing in schools causing anxiety and illnesses

I don't know about your child, but both my daughters have been tested so much in school, it is amazing they learn anything besides how to take a test. These tests are not the normal tests teachers give to quiz the kids on what they have learned in class. What I am talking about are the state tests.

Just to give you an idea, let's take my fourth grader. Here is what her testing schedule looks like. February she has testing for writing, March it's mathematics, and April it's English. These are the Florida Standards Assessments, or FSA. Along with the state tests throughout the year, students also have ELA module testing, running record testing, mathematics and science testing.

Recently, my fourth grader had to take the mathematics part of the FSA tests. Usually my daughter, who gets straight A's in all her classes, is not too worried about testing. For some reason, this time, she was really nervous and anxious about it. The night before the test, she was looking over papers here teacher had gone over with them.

My daughter said she was worried she didn't know it enough. For weeks, the teacher has been preparing the students. The school even sent home a sheet with a link where kids could go to for practice questions. The morning of the test, my daughter was about in tears over taking this test. I didn't know why, because I don't put any pressure on the girls for test-taking. I even tell her these tests don't matter. I told her if she didn't do well and still makes straight A's, there would be a problem with the test, so not to worry.

Still, she was anxious. I asked other parents what they thought of the testing. I even asked some teachers. I think everyone's in agreement the students are tested way too much.

What I have found is more and more kids are having anxiety issues.  Kids are feeling the pressures of
testing and physically getting sick. It's not fair to the kids, parents or teachers to put this much stress on young children. Really? Why? We have seen in the past year: tests have had mistakes. Parts of tests were missing last year and scores weren't accurate.

My daughter told me the computers went down one day while they were doing testing. It's frustrating for the students and the teachers.

Last year, all tests were going to be done on computers. The state changed that after determining it could be a challenge for kids who don't know how to type. All testing will eventually be on the computer, so a typing class will probably be added to the students' curriculum.

More and more friends of mine are pulling their kids out of public schools and homeschooling their children. I have talked to teachers who are seriously considering leaving the teaching profession. Even teachers in preschool who teach voluntary pre-kindergarten, or VPK, are now mandated with more testing they have to do for four-year-olds. What happened to having fun in preschool and playing?

I think it's important to test students, but not to constantly being testing them. It's important for schools to be a place for teachers to teach and students to learn.

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