It is testing Season in Michigan. The M-Step started for 8th grade two weeks back as most students returned from spring break. School schedules are morphing regularly to fit the test in around continuing instruction. Students have mixed reactions to tests. Some want to see where they stand. Are they ahead or behind. Most who care, just want to be “better” than their friends. Others just see the tests as another rite of passage. They endure theses like enduring visits to the dentist. Still others just dread they testing days and the changes of schedule. Often getting physically ill just with the though of having to sit in front of the computer for an hour.
I hope every parent gives a similar message to their children as this principal! Tests are just a snapshot, a moment in time. Some students will succeed. Others will fail. The standardized tests schools give don’t focus on all the skills our students learn. Their focus is on rating students in a subject area against all the other students who take the test and a standard. Is everyone good at every subject? NO.
All students learn, but they learn differently and at different rates. Master of one subject or skill doesn’t mean a student will master them all. School need to focus on celebrating the diversity of learning. Our test outcomes focus on all students doing the same work. Students will master what they are passionate about! This passion leads to hard work. Some will grow up to be doctors, lawyers, nurses, engineers, plumbers, electricians, landscapers, painters, artists, actors or musicians. Do all these careers need to master the same skills?
Education is about learning how to learn and being exposed to a wide range of ideas. When this happens in time students will find their passions and blossom. Society can’t let test dampen students passions for learning. Let’s endure the testing season trying our best but remembering it is just a snapshot from the day it was taken. I wonder what all the CEO’s snapshots looked like when they were in school?