Thursday, April 5, 2012

Not On the Test

My son is 6, and we educate him using a hybrid of public face-to-face, public online, and homeschool situations. This week he was at school and took a reading diagnostic test. This particular test is used carefully as a diagnostic tool to intervene and help kids who are struggling to read, so I wasn't tool worried about him taking it. But being a bit of a standardized test skeptic, I decided to ask him about the test he took at school. The conversation went something like this:

Me: "Hey buddy, did you take a test at school today?"
Z: "Yeah. It was pretty easy."
Me: "Can you tell me about it?"
Z: "Well, I had to do some reading and then I had to do some things."
Me: "Really? Like what?"
Z: "One thing I read told me to draw a tree on both sides of the house that was in the picture."
Me: "And what did you do?"
Z: "I decided to draw an evergreen tree on one side of the house, and a deciduous tree on the other side of the house."
Me in my head: "Go ahead assessment grader, just TRY to determine what my son was thinking when he answered THAT!"
Me: "Nice work buddy!"
Z: "Yeah, I did that because those are the types of trees we have at our house. The pine trees are evergreen trees, and the aspen trees are deciduous."
L: "We have a whole flock of pine trees at our house!" (She is 4)

Conclusion: Even if the recorded answer to a question appears right or wrong, a brief assessment of reading, writing, or any other subject is woefully inadequate to probe the depth of a child's mind.

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