Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Just another typical first day of testing

If they'd make me the queen of the education world, I'd do away with high stakes testing in elementary school. Seriously, haven't any of the big wigs ever read the book Leo the Late Bloomer? I'm a firm believer in the fact that some kids just have their jello moment later than others although I have met some adults who still haven't gelled in their ability to think.

Regardless of my opinions, the tests are designed to judge measure the progress of the teachers students so opinions with the help of the negative comments from the local rag can be formed about the dedication of the teachers in a school.

Yesterday was the first day of *the* test. And it was a typical first day of testing kind of day with enough stress to make one reconsider becoming a fry girl.

We got to school and the power was out probably due to some stressed out teacher running into a utility pole to dull the pain. Since the testing manual doesn't advise us to give the test in the dark, we delayed the test until the power was restored.

We had three kids throwing up. Awards went to two of the teachers who were able to get their barfing boys to a trash can. The third teacher got to laugh at us while we transferred answers from the soiled test to a fresh copy which worked better than a diet pill to kill my appetite for lunch.

One child in the fourth grade got so nervous, she wet her pants. Thankfully, the test remained on high ground.

Despite my personal phone calls begging pleading to remind parents to give their child the medicine the doctor prescribed, we had four who came to school completely unmedicated. One of the four children ate part of the answer sheet, one never finished the test, and one refused to take the test. This used to scare me, but now I take my medicine daily so I can handle the stress. It just is what it is. Some things are beyond my control.

Thank goodness we sent home a letter and made a school-wide phone call to all the parents. Otherwise, we might have had more than the eleven students who showed up at school tardy and had to be tested in the afternoon.

Once the testing was over, I visited a few classrooms so I could find something to laugh about. After visiting a few rooms where the kids were dull and quiet after having all their energy and confidence zapped from them, I headed for the kindergarten hallway. In one kindergarten room, the class was singing B-I-N-G-O. Being one who loves a good song, I joined in with class. That is, until I noticed the little girl next to me was signing a different song. And I like her version even better! "B-I-embryo and bean-jo was his name, oh!"

Thank God we aren't testing the kindergartners yet!


Unknown said...

Standardized testing SUCKS! I wouldn't blame a teacher one bit for running into a pole before coming to school.

Nothing like a kindergarten class to brighten your day and give you a laugh! I like her version of BINGO too! Very cute

Jan said...

ROFL - I like her version better, too!

Gawd, I hate standardized testing. My kids know it too - her senior year, Darling Daughter had to write an essay for the English portion, so she wrote it on the evils of standardized testing.

Whoever grades the damn things must have agreed with her - she got a perfect score on it.

Unknown said...

LOL, leave it to kindergartners to reduce the adrenalin rush fast!

Unknown said...

Beth, check out http://david-mcmahon.blogspot.com/2009/04/post-of-day_21.html

One of your posts, which I nominated, was listed as Top Contender!

Kulio said...

ahhhh... I remember, as a newbie teacher, assisting another, ancient, mature teacher in my first standardized test ever. When the lunch bell rang, even though it was a timed test, she said, "okay we'll finish after lunch" and we marched the children in line to lunch. The principal caught us on the way there to ask how the testing was going, after explaining that we hadn't finished the test, the ancient teacher (noticing the principal's response), pointed to me, and said that I alone had negated the test results by insisting that we abandon the test for lunch. I stood, gape-mouthed, while the principal berated me in front of all of my wide-eyed 1st graders. I had been the quiet, subservient test assistant and hadn't made a single decision, just followed my partner's lead. The other teacher never said a word of apology to me for throwing me under the bus. All that to say (too long!) that testing brings out the worst in everybody. Selah.

Lori said...

I like her version of Bingo better too. Nothing like Kindergardeners to bring us smiles and laughter.

That really is so sad that these poor children get themselves so worked up over testing. Every year, my granddaughter, who is now in 4th grade, calls me early in the morning of testing, so that I can calm her down. My daughter, her mom, is a teacher so I am usually calming her down too. And then listening to her vent after testing...lol.

Anonymous said...

Funny...I was always that kid who placed int he 99th percentile when I tested and then my parents were all like- well now we know your brain power so you need to apply yourself...and no matter how much i tried to throw it off, I'd always do well. I always wondered if i was smart stupid or stupid smart :)

Dee-Zigns Handcrafted Jewelry said...

Poor children! I hate to laugh but you make it so darn funny! My 1st grader and 5th grader have been testing since last week. Fortunately, they both seem fine. My 1st grader is telling me he thinks he got them all right. Hmmmm, I hope so!

HeatherPride said...

When I was a kid I loved standardized test day. It was a whole day of questions that didn't count for a real grade. Good times! BUT, my mom was one of those kids with such horrible test anxiety that she would get sick on test days. That makes my heart hurt for those kids who get so worked up.

cheatymoon said...

Aaaah, such fun. On testing day at my school, if we get through the day without a desk being turned over, it's a success. We have a few refuse to take the tests... but really, would it matter?
Hope the rest of your week goes ok, Beth.

What About The Girl? said...

Oh poor kids!
So, you are a school principal...
Wow we would get along really well! :-)

Thank you for dropping by my blog and for your lovely comment.

beth said...

my son in third grade (who we call the nutty professor) had his testing a few weeks ago. he totally does not sweat them at all. he does really well, too. however he is the one that will come down dressed for school with his pajama pants under his school pants and his sweater on backwards. i tie his shoes for him every morning, too. i'm still trying to figure out what the testing proves.

Michele said...

OMG...I love her song better..too funny! I agree that some of the parents have not gotten to their ability to think rationally yet. They should take the test instead.

Hugz for you putting up with the throw up and eating the paper kids!


Pseudo said...

Do you serve ketchup with that answer sheet?

This made me smile. We had testing of the 10th graders last week. It wasn't pretty sometimes, but there were no test eaters.

Kristina P. said...

It's such a tricky thing. I agree that testing is ridiculous, but understand that it's hard to measure progress without doing it!

Deb said...


listen, i am telling you that standardized testing is a crock. and my kids always do very well (except for that one minor little algebra blip a couple of years ago). the poor teachers have to spend all their time prepping for the SOL's that it is all they really get to cover.

Michel said...

Oh man! You made me nervous JUST TALKING ABOUT IT!!! God I hate tests! They freak me out

Hilarious kids though. I love Kindergarteners! (because I'm not there). You are a saint!

Hit 40 said...

Ohio has a plan if the child pukes on the test. We are suppose to bag it and send it back! I think they may have changed this rule after someone actually sent one back??

Sorry the little ones were so nervous!! The older kids keep it together. They are just so used to the BS.

followthatdog said...

I can't believe anyone thinks a test that has this kind of stressful reaction is a good idea.

So is "Queen of the Education World" an elected or appointed position? I think we need to get to work on that!

Beth said...

dizzblnd - I know, I know. A wreck might be more fun than a week of the test.

Jan - Me thinks your daughter is a genius! She gets my vote for Secretary of Education. Where do I make my campaign contribution?

Jane - I do love hanging out with the kindergartners. But if I had to teach them all day, I'd cry.

And Jane, you made me cry! So sweet of you to nominate that post. And a HUGE compliment from you. I really do appreciate your support. BTW - It is official. Your daughter accepts me as new off-spring! That rocks!

Kulio - I am speechless. Seriously, I can't believe a person would do that. It sounds like a bad movie. How did you not deck her? I want to go beat her up for you.

smiles4you - I don't mind testing when it doesn't stress out the kids. Elementary students shouldn't be so stressed.

Mrs. K - Do you look young for your age? Yes? Could you pose as a 5th grader for a few days?

Dee-Zigns - It sounds like your kids are calm like their grandmother. They'd know what to do if they ever got a shipment of "oregano."

Heather - Fortunately, the majority of the kids are fine. The ones who get all worked up break my heart. It is just a frickin test! I think they feel all judged.

movie - Turned over desks? You are a saint. Let me polish that halo for you.

Girl from Cherry Blossom Street - Thanks! I really do like your eye for photography (my favorite hobby besides blogging).

Beth - Your son sounds like some of my favorite students! And those tests? They don't prove a damn thing. It is just how that kid took that version of the test at that time on that day. That is all.

Michele - I need to write more posts about what the Kindergarten students say. They are way funnier that the Comedy Channel.

Pseudo - We would offer ketchup but then we'd have to report the testing irregularity. The fewer forms, the better. :)

Kristina - I can show you how to measure progress! Each child would need a plan and a portfolio. It would take some extra work on the front end but I think we could show progress without tearing down students (especially the ones who are late bloomers).

Deb - I hate the whole teaching to the test idea. But who can blame the teachers when the papers gladly report what the kids can't do when the results of the test come back in.

Michel - Sounds like you could use an afternoon with kindergartners. They are amazingly funny. And honest.

Hit40 - Great idea! I should mail that damn test to the state superintendent!

followthatdog - I know! Children should only be stressed about whether or not they are going to be picked for a kickball team. And the Queen position is elected. Do you think the skeletons in my closet will matter too much if I run?

Smart Mouth Broad said...

I can't even tell you how much I hate standardized testing. It has become so ridiculous in Florida (with funding tied to results) that the kids are taught to pass the test and there is no focus on education in general.

Kindergartners are always good for comic relief!

Candice said...


OH MY GAWD!! That's some funny stuff right there.

SandyCarlson said...

My daughter's teachers in third grade told her in Nov. to get a good night's sleep before the test the following March. She was a wreck for months. It's sick and ridiculous.

But how many jobs are created by the need to have these things scored, etc? That's what this inquiring mind wants to know. And at what cost....on every level.

Unknown said...

Left something for you on my blog today. Enjoy!

Unknown said...

...and another! Can you tell how much I love you? Adoption papers are being prepared!

Diane said...

I love reading your stories and as the mother of 4, also hate that testing. Its just plain boring for them!

Dawn Parsons Smith said...

My son actually chewed holes in his shirt over this ridiculous testing. I found out later that his teacher was so anxiety ridden that she was threatening to take away recess if they didn't perform well! All the kids in the class were horrified, of course!

We are now homeschooling, but I still feel for those who are going through the "testing".

It's sad, but it seems that the testing is more to condemn the poor teachers than to actually check real "performance"...at least it's that way in "these parts."

H.K. said...

My mother was a teacher for over 30 years and hated the standardized testing! I used to hear her complain about it for years, so it's pretty cool to get the perspective of a principal and it seems you guys are on the same page!

Very funny post!

Ash said...

LOL - B-i-embryo. Someone getting a new little brother or sister soon?

Ugh - the necessary (really?) evil of standardized testing.

Even my kindergartener knows that it stinks - they don't get to go out on the playground because it might disturb the rest of the elementary school.

Major. Bummer.

Optimistic Pessimist said...

Standardized testing is horrible. My son will have to do it next year and he's already worried about it.

Hit 40 said...

I beat you home!!! I bet your back at school counting and ordering the tests!!!

Everyday Goddess said...

I would not score over 200 on the SAT's if I had to take them over again now. I am glad to be finally learning math along with my daughter. I'm like a clean slate.

Everyday Goddess said...

I like the bigger improved font. Makes me feel younger because I don't have to squint to read the post and comments.

Beth said...

Smart Mouth Broad - Funding is tied to the testing in Georgia, too. And that just makes a LOT of sense. "I see your school FAILED. We will disregard that you have a very high free and reduced lunch rate. Oh, and we will take this money, too. Now see if you can do more with less."

Candice - We should have had Kindergarten students writing the songs all along.

SandyCarlson - Yikes! I'm sure the teacher was trying to just prepare the students. You never know how much to say. If you don't say anything then they just don't know. Then when you do say something, you scare the be-jeezus out of the kids (and parents). And as for the jobs, unfortunately I think too many are created around the high stakes tests. Thanks for the blog visit!

Jane (Gaston Studios) - Wow! You are so awesome! I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Or be more excited about the awards or the adoption papers!

Diane - The test is boring! And long. And drains everybody for the entire week! I hope your kids exceed in every area. And thanks for the blog visit!

Bee and Rose - Chewed holes in his shirt?! Poor baby! I would be furious if I found out students weren't getting recess over the standardized test and the results. During our week of testing, our kids have loooooooong breaks. And they need them!

H.K. - My mom is a retired teacher, too! In fact, she begged me NOT to go into education. :) I don't know of any principal that enjoys the high stakes tests. They are way too stressful.

Em - I hadn't thought about a baby on the way. I'm going to check that out! And our kindergarten students have been walking the halls with the "hip and lip" move on (one hand on the hip, the other covering the mouth like a shhhh) so they will be extra quiet.

marathoner81 - Already worried about the test a year before he has to take it? Dang it! He should just be allowed to be a kid and his worries should be about who he is going to play with. Thanks for the blog visit!

Hit 40 - You've helped out with tests, yes? :)

Comedy Goddess - I'm with you on the SAT and the math stuff. Way over my head! And thanks for noticing the font. I'm 41 and my eyes are starting to behave in a funny manner.

nikkicrumpet said...

EEK...in grade school????? Who's idiotic idea was that? When we were in grade school we still couldn't figure out how to tie our shoes...let alone ace a test!