In talking with other moms in my neighborhood, I have heard story after story of kids not being able to sleep or eat because they are so worried about this test. Third graders. The 8 year old daughter of an acquaintance had a complete breakdown one morning (the test takes several days to administer) and was simply hysterical. Mom sent her to take the test anyway because she didn't know what might happen to her daughter if she missed a test day. (I don't know either.) Parents I've spoken with are frustrated at the amount of homework, repeated drills, and emphasis on this test. Some schools in my area have little or no recess for elementary kids. Recess takes time away from studying for this test. The Test is all-important.
CRCT is the way in which government school children in Georgia show "competency" in the 3 Rs and then some--social studies and science for the older children. Then schools are measured to find out how successful they are in cramming information into the kids. Chances are given to improve; money is taken away after too many chances. This is NCLB.
The AJC (registration required) ran an article yesterday in which it is revealed that the majority of students who fail the CRCT are promoted to the next grade anyway.
Students are supposed to pass math and reading tests in eighth and fifth grades, and reading in third grade, to move up. For those CRCTs, the newspaper found 10 to 20 percent of students failed on their first try in 2006 and 2007.
But only a small percentage were ultimately retained: 2.5 percent of eighth-grade testers, 1.7 percent of fifth-graders, and 2.9 percent of third-graders.. . .
In 2007, for instance, 92 percent of the nearly 9,500 eighth-graders who couldn't pass the math CRCT were promoted.
What, then, is the point? Is it worth the stress and heartache, putting these kids through these tests? What a waste.
Even more concerning to me is the fact that these kids are learning a terrible lesson about standards, since they ultimately don't have to meet them. The teachers and parents and government officials talk talk talk about standards, threaten to hold them back a grade if they don't meet them, teach nothing that is outside the test so that the maximum number of kids can pass. And then promote most of them anyway. Or just change the test when only about 30% of kids manage to pass.
What must these kids be thinking, about standards and about these adults who are paying lip service to them? The smart ones will clue into the fact that they'll get promoted anyway and stop stressing about the tests, I suppose. Our supposed standards will be lowered repeatedly until they are laughably easy or eliminated altogether. Somehow, I don't think the NCLB money will go away.
Stress and worry. Mixed messages. "Standards" that change according to the whims of the educators.
Really, the whole NCLB thing is quite ridiculous. I've thought that from the get-go. But now I think it's downright dangerous. Sadly, I fear that no matter who gets the White House this November, it's not going away any time soon.