Thursday, March 19, 2015

SOLC #19 What Standardized Testing Doesn't Measure

The Slice of Life March Challenge is hosted by Two Writing Teachers.  

Many slices have been written about standardized testing during this challenge.  I am sure I do not have anything new to add.  But this one is personal. This one comes from a mother's heart, not a teacher's.  

Let me introduce you to a student.  She took six standardized tests from 3rd through 8th grades.  She passed them all, but scored a Pass+ only one time.

In high school she took a standardized test in order to graduate.  She passed, but again, just average scores. She also took the SAT twice. Her scores were not high enough to qualify for several of the "big" scholarships.

What do these scores tell you about this student?  Maybe she is about average?

Let me tell you a little more about this student that you won't see when looking at her standardized test score.

In middle school, she had a 3.9 GPA.  That would be two A-s in three years.  In high school, she had a 4.0, which included dual credit classes and AP classes, and she was valedictorian of her class.  In college she had a 3.9.  That would be a total of four A-'s in 11 years of school.  The test didn't measure that.

She was a two sport athlete and was honored with many mental attitude and character awards.  The test didn't measure that.

She received a DAR citizenship award in 8th grade and as a senior, which was voted on by her peers and her teachers.  The test didn't measure that.

She is a hard worker who has an impeccable work ethic.  The test didn't measure that.

She had a goal, and she worked her tail off day in and day out to reach it. I was there when she stayed up late into the night studying for a test, or a writing paper, or finishing a project until it was perfect.  The test didn't measure that.

You see, this student is my daughter.

And she is going to be a teacher.  

She will be a passionate teacher who cares about her students.  She will be a teacher who will continue to reflect and to grow.  She will be a teacher who will put in extra time to make her lessons and learning environment perfect.  She will also be a coach who will teach her players life lessons on and off the court.

And once again, she will be faced with a test that doesn't measure that.

And did I mention this was my daughter?


  1. I love the picture, Leigh Anne, and I'm not surprised. One of my children did tests well, the other did not. Both are wonderful adults living full and beautiful lives. I don't do the testing at my school, but I hear plenty about them from my 8th grade grandson, all the time prep wasted when there is so much he could be learning. You've written a great story of how it really works, this thing called life.

  2. Thank you for your post! I could have (should have!) written it about my daughter. She sounds like a wonderful young woman.

  3. I have tears in my eyes!!! I LOVE this!!!! Your daughter...and all of our students...are MORE than a test score. I tell my students this. I love the repetition and poetry like way this was written. (Oh and best of luck to you on your presentation today!!!!! You'll do a wonderful job!!) Beautiful words! Beautiful picture! I'm glad teaching is getting another gem like your daughter! :)

  4. This student is my daughter
    is my teacher is my
    world, and no amount of testing
    or data collection points or
    bubble charts, open response or
    vocabulary exercises of the mind will
    change that
    nor change this:
    We are all so much more expansive than the tests
    we take
    in school.

    --Kevin, lifting a line and stealing a bit of your voice as comment.
    Yeah, for her to come into teaching!

  5. Just beautiful. Now we need a slice about testing from a student's perspective. Maybe your daughter will write one?

  6. I love the idea of highlighting what the test doesn't measure. This tribute to her proved that she's certainly quite amazing and you didn't need a test score to show it :-)

  7. Awesome post, Leigh Anne! You are so right about everything. There is so much about a child that a test doesn't measure. When will the people who require these tests wake up and realize this?


  8. Great post. This is something that we as teachers know. Tests do not tell us everything. Why don't people listen to us?

  9. Beautiful! I think about my youngest son as I read this. He'll be the one that doesn't test as well, but will have other awesome qualities about him that won't be measured by a test. Thanks for sharing. We have to keep the conversation going.

  10. I love the twist of reading about standardized testing from a parent's perspective!!! Tests give us a moment in time and not even a true picture. There is so much more to our students -- and daughters -- than a test can tell us. Loved this slice! And bravo that she is going into education!! She has an awesome role model!

  11. What a passionate and beautiful post. Your daughter has accomplished so much and she did not need a standardized test to tell her or anyone else that she is amazing. One day I hope the horrible wrong can be corrected and schools can be a place were learning is honored and celebrated.

  12. Beautiful, beautiful young lady. The tests that they say count these days, simply do not and cannot give us a full picture of our kids. Your daughter is living proof of that - her students will be blessed to learn from her.

  13. So true! The tests simply don't measure much that really matters! And what a great picture of your daughter!

  14. So powerful!
    What an incredible young lady!