It’s that time of year again. The time when our kids have standardized testing. This year I have a third grader taking the Reading portion of the FSA over the next couple of days. It’s weird to be a spectator watching your kid go through it. I’m keeping it together for her, but inside I am cringing and totally feel her pain.
I was never a good test taker. Even when I was a child, it was a lot of pressure for me. I remember getting very nervous, especially for anything that involved reading comprehension. I was an avid and excellent reader, but comprehension and I struggled, especially in a timed test. The stress of testing was just hard to handle and the results were never an accurate representation of my academic performance.
I always got honor roll in school and was in all the honor societies. My grades were always very good. I think having some extracurricular activities that I regularly participated also helped me to do well academically. But testing was not my strong suit and I guess I made up for that in other areas that contributed to my grades. It even took a combined SAT score for me to get admitted to the university I wanted to attend. My point is, I did well in school, I attended college, and became a valuable member society despite testing.
Fast forward many years later and now my 9 year old daughter is faced with her first major test that counts toward promotion. Now I’m nervous about tests for a whole different reason…testing…ugh…it’s still my nemesis! Even so, I’ve kept it cool in front of her and not led on how I feel about it. Ironically my worry is about her worrying about it, not her performance. She already deals with a significant amount of anxiety as part of her autism, but now she is notably stressed because of testing. She doesn’t seem to be sleeping well and her stomach has been upset. The other day we were in a restaurant and she became ill. Now I don’t think testing made her physically sick (although it wouldn’t surprise me), but her first thought after puking was that she was afraid she would miss school and then miss her FSA test. Granted the test is important, but when a kid doesn’t feel well and is more concerned about missing a test than feeling better, what are we teaching them?
It seems like testing causes teachers undue stress too. They spend their year trying to prepare our kids for testing and on top of that, they do their best to make sure our kids are learning all they should be at their grade level. The thought has crossed my mind that our teacher could use a good bottle of wine when this is all over. Total Wine here I come…one bottle for her, two for me. It’s just too tense for everyone involved!
The truth is it will not matter when they are adults. It won’t scar their record or keep them out of college. If my kid wants to be a scientist one day or even if she wants to be the President of the United States (she has toyed with politics, bless her heart) it won’t keep her from reaching her dreams. It won’t even be a blip on her radar years from now. She’s still going to be awesome, no matter how she does and she will still get to fourth grade.
So today we’ve had some swim class, a healthy dinner, a quick viewing of Science and Me (Thanks Molecular Mike), we’ve said our prayers for peace tomorrow and we’re in bed nice and early. We’ve got a healthy breakfast planned and hubby got the coffee pot programmed so that WE ALL can make it to school on time. One of my friends even made her some essential oils to help her to focus tomorrow. We’re as ready as we ever be and she’s going to rock this!
Good luck to all of our super friends testing tomorrow, especially those who are up against their adversary “Testing”. I’ve been there and I know how much anxiety it can cause. Just don your cape in the morning, do your best and remember that Testing will not be the ruin of you or your future. It’s not something that is a requirement for you to be good at or that you even need to live a full and successful life. Worrying about it only takes away your peace. Now peace, that my friends, is a super power you will always need.
Peace Be With You,