Thursday, May 17, 2007

Anti-achievement

This week Sister has been bringing home this super-easy math homework--easy because she's done it all before and it is merely intended as review before the end-of-grade tests start next week. Her whole class is worried about these tests, and Sister has been a bit worried about them, too, since last year when she first caught wind of them. I've been assuring her ever since that she has nothing to worry about, that these tests are really testing how well her teacher has been teaching and how well her school is working. Now, I will admit thatI have no fear at all Sister is going to fail third grade. These tests do determine whether a 3rd grader will be promoted to 4th, will have to spend vacation days indoors at summer school, or will fail altogether. But Sister's a smart girl who's practically hung on every word this adored teacher has uttered all year, from what I can tell.

Some part of me feels a bit of guilt that I should really be doing more to help her teacher out here. I love love love this particular teacher. She's done a miraculous job reinforcing my belief of the past couple of years that Sister does not have attention problems requiring medication (as 2 of her teachers have hinted we should look into). Rather, she just hadn't yet found the teacher who could bring out the best in her. Some part of me thinks I should return the favor and drill Sister on this huge list of terms and problems that she's going to encounter in the end-of-grade tests next week so her teacher will look especially good. I got this list last week and what I did instead was asked Sister about a couple of things on it, then promptly stuck it in a drawer where it's still languishing under some more recently-added coupons.

I just can't make myself believe that stressing Sister over an achievement test in third grade is really an okay thing to do, notwithstanding the fabulousness of her teacher. Yes, I'm assuming she'll do well enough because I used to do well on such tests as a kid. Above that, it's just not worth it to me to spend two weeks drilling her in order to up her score by a couple of points. She's only 8! There will certainly be time to stress about tests when she's older and the stakes are higher. But third grade? Pfffttt.

2 comments:

Suburban Gorgon said...

Man, I hear you. The competitive crap when they are still so young makes me crazy. It's not like they're not already growing up too fast, right?

Beth said...

I think all this testing is stupid. I didn't have that in school and I turned out ok....well, in MY opinion I'm ok! But it's so much pressure and kids get ulcers and worry about stuff that they shouldn't have to worry about. Let them be KIDS.