What’s Up Wednesday: Guest Post from HRH

Her Royal Highness, who just turned 14, is in grade 8 this year. Last year of middle school, last year in a smaller environment, and last year for the New York State tests in math and English.

Ah, the state tests.

I have a lot of things to say about the tests. None of them are good. But with the tests approaching in the next couple of weeks, there’s a nonstop parade of articles and actions from adults – teachers, parents, and others concerned with what is being lost to these tests. These folks have done their research and know whereof they speak.

But what about those who are impacted most – the kids themselves?

With that in mind, I asked HRH if she would share her thoughts about the state tests. Here is her unedited reply.

As many of the parents and teachers in the NY area know, the NYS tests are coming up. The tests are given to kids in grades 3-8, evaluating the teachers and the kids’ knowledge of the subject. But most of all, the tests are given for the reputation of the school. Writing from an eighth grader’s perspective, this is what I have picked up from taking these tests.

The tests are given out to see which school is considered the ‘smartest’, which in my opinion, is not a proper evaluation of the school in any way. The NYS tests cause kids to become stressed for no reason, and feel that these tests are the top of their priorities. For some kids who already struggle enough in school  have enough to worry about on their own.  The preparation for these tests are also quite extensive. The amount of time a classroom takes out of a normal period to prepare for these tests is absurd. In previous years,  classes have taken weeks to ‘study’ for them, which is a lot of time for tests that don’t affect the kids or teachers in any way.  The time taken out of a class also takes away from the real units that kids study in class, which is masses upon masses of wasted time for both the students and their educators.

Parents across the state have been having their kids opt out of these tests, hoping that it sends a message to the schools. If they have their kids opt out, the NYS tests may be scrapped altogether. I am indifferent towards this method. I think that it could work, but also could not in the same effect. Schools could take notice and just scrap it altogether, or only some schools would not have the NYS tests. Then what happens? You can’t have some schools have students taking them, and others not.

I have yet to meet someone who actually appreciates the NYS tests and if they do, I’ll respect that. However, coming from the popular opinions towards these tests, no one likes them. These tests are long, sometimes difficult, and have no effect on the students or teachers at all. The tests are mainly built for reputation in my opinion. The tests do not fairly evaluate a kid’s skill in the subject. I do not like these tests at all because they’re dumb, long  and a waste of time. A kid’s learning ability does not depend on their school’s reputation.

Thanks, honey. You represented your fellow students very well.

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2 thoughts on “What’s Up Wednesday: Guest Post from HRH

  1. What a wonderful, thoughtful response. Your daughter is very well-spoken, and I have a feeling she would be a pleasure to have in my classroom. 🙂

    Sadly, though, I have to add a comment from this side of the desk that the tests do have an affect on teachers. Test results previously counted as 20% of a teacher’s annual rating/grade…but with Cuomo’s new budget and plan they will now count for 50% of that score. Poor enough results on the test = an “ineffective” rating for the teacher. Two years in a row of that and any teacher, no matter if tenured or not, can be fired within 90 days. We all should be very, very frightened of these tests for the detrimental outcomes they pose for students and teachers alike.

  2. kris fletcher says:

    Mary, thank you so much for giving us the teacher’s perspective! HRH read your response and said, “Well that’s just WRONG.” (Which is what I’ve been telling her for a while, but as I’m sure you know, it always makes a bigger impact when it comes from someone else.). We are exercising our right to opt out for Tsarina and will probably do so for HRH as well. Mayhap if enough parents say NO, the message will get through.

    kris http://www.krisfletcher.com

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