Tested to Despair

Stop high-stakes testing from destroying public education.

Grossly irrelevant tests

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“Education refugee” Nancy relates this:

D landed on his chair with a thud and then tumbled off the other side onto the rug. Falling off chairs is common for kids with ADD  and one of the many reason D must take the Massachusetts high stakes exam in a small group setting.

This was the third year I administered the MCAS exam to D. We were in the library with a bunch of other special education kids and their proctors. Massachusetts provides several types of accommodations for eligible special needs kids who take the MCAS. For example, kids might have the exam read aloud, frequent breaks, scribing, small group, one-on-one and a familiar test administrator. In spite of the accommodations, special education kids often struggle to get out of the warning category and move into the kind of scores that their teachers and school need to stay cool with the state. Far worse, the test scores may eventually prevent them from getting a high school diploma.

D, an over weight, awkward child with wide-set eyes and a passion for eating, was already exhausted as I began to read the MCAS script. With his head on the table, D muttered that he hadn’t been able to eat dinner the night before until 11:30 PM.

“What?” I asked. “Why? What happened?”

“My mother beat up my brother’s girl friend.,” D said, all matter of fact. “We had to call the police. Well my grandmother held my mother down so I could call the police. I had two slices of pizza in the microwave and a bowl of cereal but I couldn’t eat them until the police left”

That’s when I became an education refugee and vowed to never again subject kids like D to the stress of the MCAS. There is no excuse for rich, spoiled adults like Michele Rhee and Bill Gates to insist that our courageous special education students take these grossly irrelevant tests.

Tested to despair indeed.


One thought on “Grossly irrelevant tests

  1. For all the D’s out there I have to remind you that there are real flesh and blood capitalists who are profiting mightily from subjecting children like D, and all the others for that matter, to high stakes testing! It seems to me that it’s crucial to get the word out as often as possible and in every kind of media to alert people to their children’s education being hijacked by Pearson and friends.

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