Dad, testing is affecting my bladder and my play! #TrueQuote

State testing is impacting my second grader’s view about the Georgia Criterion-Referenced  Competency Test (CRCT) and high-stakes standardized testing, in general. [And I promise I keep my personal and professional rhetoric on this topic to a minimum at home!]

This morning, PJ told us that they are not allowed to use the bathroom from 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. because of the CRCT testing, which second graders at PJ’s school don’t take officially. But the rest of the school is on “testing lockdown.” Additionally, he said that his teacher announced that recess would resume on next Monday, after the CRCT is completed. Now, I know I should not base my entire understanding on the perceptions of a second grader. There is some perspective-skewing, I’m sure. But still!

My eight year old is now imprinted with the idea that CRCT takes away his bathroom and recess. That stinks!

He’s certainly learning some lessons from state testing, and he has not even taken a test segment yet.

#JustAnotherDropInTheBucketForReExaminingTheSystemWeCreated

#WeSayWeWillDoWhateverIsBestForTheKids

#DoWeReallyMeanIt

Chris Thinnes offers a much more eloquent parental response here and here. I’ve added Chris’ posts to this post after the original publication. Chris’ sharing will certainly help me to be a better parent in such family decision making in the future. Thank you, Chris.

6 thoughts on “Dad, testing is affecting my bladder and my play! #TrueQuote

  1. Thanks Bo for your vulnerability and transparency sharing your family’s experience. I admire (as always) your honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness to explore the complexity of all this. For whatever reason I’m just sad about this whole episode in our family’s life — there’s no other word for it, really — and reading your account of PJ’s comments stirs that pot that had settled slightly in recent days.

    Pulled on one end by my willful insistence that my son should have his own voice, and on the other by my stubborn instinct to protect him from harm, is a knot I’m just not sure how to untie.

    • Right back at ya! Thank you! It’s all making me sad, too. And I am puzzled at why we (as a BIG group, not just you and me) aren’t further along in this shared understanding about the limitations and lack of creativity of such an approach to proxy-documentation of deep learning. And a better system for professional growth, development, evaluation, etc.

  2. Powerful indeed. All of my children, without exception have labeled school as “work, work, work, boring, work!”, beginning at the age of 5. At that point, I knew that school was only a sliver of who they really were.
    This year, at our first conference for our 5 year-old, the Kindergarten teacher showed us a 15 page test (no lie) she had taken, and expressed concern over how my daughter was not recognizing certain words. At home, she was having no trouble recognizing them. I knew, it was the format, the structure, the ridiculousness of it all. My daughter, knew this too. At 5 she was able to recognize this test was meaningless, and I honored that for her. I also honored the teacher, who was clearly not prepared to hear me say all of her work was a worthless interpretation of my daughter’s abilities. I simply listened to her. I also listened to my child’s version. She said it was boring and long and not interesting. I validated her opinion.
    Nowadays, Lucía’s scores on those tests are impressive, but I already knew she knew. If I had listened to doubt, fear and acted on them, I’m sure I would’ve created a voice in my child’s head that made her doubtful and fearful of her power to create and succeed.
    I’m afraid schooling is based on fear, doubt and lack.
    I wrote about that a few years ago:
    http://elblogdelisita.blogspot.com/2013/04/what-does-your-ideal-school-look-like.html

    The high stakes scenario is magnified by the vertigo American culture suffers of “failure” and the obsession with comparing and competing.
    Your son knows, his best learning occurs when all of his needs are taken care of, and he is given the freedom to play. Honoring and acknowledging his voice, as I am sure you do, is the best way to “plant the date seeds” that Chris Thinnes talks about.
    Our children will lead the schools of tomorrow, and if we keep their voices free of doubt and fear, they will re-direct the system, if we don’t do it before, of course. 🙂

    • Words fail me right now. Lisa, this comment is so thoughtful and beautiful. Your careful mixture of personal sharing and professional reflection are a gift and a blessing. Thank you. I agree with you about the issues with American culture around schooling. I wrestle with how to push and help on this front – largely because I don’t think enough people are digging deep to consider that there are better ways to design the system. I’m not quite sure what we’re waiting for.

  3. Lisa, I so appreciate your perspective and encouragement. To be honest, I don’t see the issue as completely black or white. There is a lot of gray for me. I even found myself telling PJ this morning how much I actually enjoyed standardized testing as a grade-school student – I appreciated the “puzzle working” nature and the chance to see how questions would be posed and to check my understanding and knowledge of certain things. But that was 35 years ago, and in low-stakes testing relative to today. But I continue to try to keep an open mind and collect insight and information from multiple sources. One of my biggest struggles, though, is this – will PJ’s CRCT results ever be reviewed with PJ? Or are they only for school and teacher evaluation as an imperfect proxy for more authentic and dynamic measures of learning and progress?

    And I really hate that PJ’s first exposure was that the testing took something valuable and fun away. That’s powerful imprinting.

    He’s in MB.

  4. Bo,
    Sorry to hear that! The atmosphere certainly changes during testing! No one escapes.
    My 3 girls have transferred to the Public School system this year and the oldest (4th and 7th) are experiencing CRCT’s for the first time. Perhaps, the fact that the meaning of “school” in our house is so extensive (3 countries, 3 cultures, 2 languages, 4 kids, a parent teacher, 14 schools…), that we do not take anything for granted or “too seriously”. We attempt to chalk up everything to one more experience to learn from. Day 1, they said was “easy”, a “thumbs up”. I am more interested in their welfare than results, so I was relieved. After all the talk on my PLN, I must admit I was weary. I haven’t decided what the CRCT’s mean for us yet, but am compiling data, listening, observing, experiencing it all for the first time as a parent and teacher observer.
    I’ll keep you posted on how we feel by the end of this experience…
    We are in GHES and Sutton, where are you, if you don’t mind my asking?

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