Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Testing, Testing and more Testing. It's Time to Fight the Tests. #OklaEd

It's been in the news. Our children are coming home talking about getting prepared. Some are already feeling the anxiety. They feel the pressure. Here are a few of the thoughts that are going around in the heads of our students in grades third through twelve:

If I don't do well our school gets a bad grade.
If I don't pass I don't get to move on to 4th grade.
Am I going to graduate from high school?

My children are in 1st grade and 7th Grade. My first grader isn't exposed yet to state testing, but she is assessed as part of the Reading Sufficiency Act (RSA)- the very one that will retain 3rd graders this year if they do not pass.

My 7th grader will be taking the Oklahoma Core Curriculum Test (OCCT) somewhere between the dates of April 10-22 (I received the email this morning asking for test volunteers for his school site, anyone?). He will be tested in Math, Reading and Geography.

After all the state mandated tests are completed our schools will once again be "testing". I use quotations here because this testing isn't real. Our students will be testing future used test equipment and test questions. This is flawed on so many levels. The students know its not real, so they aren't going to try. The students are essentially FREE labor. Our Oklahoma State Department of Education is so worried about instructional time, but yet these students are being randomly selected out of their classrooms to take these mock tests that do not mean anything.

My 7th grader did one of these Field Tests last Fall. The equipment didn't work, he was counted absent in the class he was supposed to have been in and had to go to the office to get a slip. This is unacceptable. He will be OPTED OUT of any future Field Testing. It is my right as a parent to see that this happens. It is every parents right.

Opting out of the OCCT is not an option at this point. It can have huge repercussions to our school districts. What we must do as parents is contact our legislatures. SB 1654 will eliminate all test not mandated by Federal law. Only two tests are mandated: English and Math.

As parents, we must be informed, Broken Arrow has formed a Parent Advocacy Task Force, attend these meetings. I attended last night's meeting with Broken Arrow's District testing coordinators, RSA (Reading Sufficiency Act) Director, Elementary Instructional Specialists, and the Executive Director of Elementary Education as guest speakers. Also, special guest speaker Principal of Jenks Middle School, Rob Miller- who writes the blog A View From the Edge.

I never thought that I would have to become so involved in my children's education. I just thought volunteering as home room mom, being artsy craftsy at parties, and helping with homework would be enough. It's not. I am beginning my journey for the advocacy of students in our great state. I have much to learn. Much to invest. We must fight the tests, Oklahoma.

 photo BlogSignature_zpsaaa2dccc.png


Kitchen Kelli said...

I am so glad you wrote about this - you are so right! Here's how I know: My daughter did not learn to read until she was 9. She has dyslexia and since at the time there was no name for it, they said she couldn't focus. We now know she also has ADHD. I had to be her strong advocate her entire elementary and middle school career. Eventually, she learned some ways to focus and read - by the time she was a senior in high school, she was the editor of the school newspaper. she was in Nat'l and Oklahoma honor society all four years of high school. OU recruited her and you may or may not know that OU accepts based on the ACT or SAT score - my daughter told them if they wanted her, they would accept her without her having to take a test which was a poor indicator of intelligence. They compromised by accepting her and then took the test after. She has a Master's Degree from OU and has been very successful in her chosen IT career. When we heard about these tests she laughed and said she would still be the oldest 3rd grader in the history of the state if she had to take the test. Tests are a poor indicator of teachability as well.

ShaRhonda said...

Kelli, Thanks for commenting and sharing. I did not even go into detail in this post regarding all the EOI (end of instruction) testing that is required to graduate high school. I firmly believe along with many others that IF there is going to be a test then the end all should be the ACT test. Colleges do not care about the EOI, They want your overall GPA and your ACT or SAT score just like you said above. I am so proud of your daughter for standing up to them for what she believed in because she is correct, a test is a poor indicator of intelligence. I took my ACT twice, a 19 the first time and a 24 the second, within a year's time. I was so scared the first time. This non required testing has got to go.