Blogs » Learning in Freedom » TAKS Talk Again? Yee Haw!

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This is really the only topic I have an opinion on so, when I see it being discussed I get tingly from the top of my head down to the tips of my purple toenails. I know - I am going to change that. Not the tingly but the toenail polish.

Is it safe to say that everybody hates the TAKS test for some reason or another? Students, parents, teachers, homeschool moms... Who loves these state mandated tests? Politicians whose children are exempt because they attend private schools?

I don’t know what type of students enjoy taking standardized tests. I guess there is a small percentage of our population who find joy and fulfillment in filling in bubbles. If a student had a gift for taking tests what type of job or life would allow that talent to flourish? Oh sure, they will get into the best colleges but what if they tank when they become employed? Who out there is a professional test taker?

Parents hate the TAKS test because of the stress it causes their children, right? When my son was in public school he believed that if he failed a section of the TAKS he would have to repeat the whole year even though he had good grades. This misinformation made for a few sleepless nights around TAKS season. I think students can sense the stress in the atmosphere. You know there is stress bubbling up and boiling over when a teacher's or school's performance is based on students' TAKS results! Stress works against memory and learning. What a sick cycle.

Even many public school teachers hate feeling pressured to teach to this test. I just got off the phone with a retired teacher ::cough:: who said that she didn’t hate the test so much as she hated that classroom instruction was geared towards the test. Another teacher just told me that children can be taught test taking strategies which can greatly improve their scores. Is the test partly about measuring these test taking skills? What a waste of classroom time. Many teachers think that this “teaching to the test” is ruining education. I know, some don't, but I'm on an anti-TAKS roll and I'm not stopping to point out the "other side." That's your job.

Homeschool moms hate the TAKS test because when a homeschool child is enrolled in public school the district administers this test for placement. When my child went to public school for the first time after learning at home for ten or so years I thought it was unfair that he was given a test that he was never “taught to.” That was my choice, of course, but we also hate the TAKS test because we don’t want to teach to it or ever feel that pressure in our home. When homeschool families do choose to administer standardized tests to their children it’s not the TAKS test they use. We would rather just use the CAT, Standford, or wait until the PSAT.

Who loves the TAKS test? Who thinks it’s the best way to assess a child’s learning? I bet the only people who love the TAKS test, besides the people who make money from it, are politicians, or number crunchers far away in some office. I bet their children are exempt from these tests because they attend private schools....

What is wrong with teachers being in charge of assessing their own students? What's wrong with allowing the classroom to be a nurturing environment where teachers and their students are trusted with teaching and learning?

You may think, “Hypocrite, you homeschool yours!” But, remember, if I wasn’t teaching my own I’d be teaching YOURS. (Well, not after this post.)

Munch on that!