And so it begins

I don’t like TAKS season.

We administered the first of five assessments yesterday. The other four will be administered in April.

Yesterday’s assessment was the Writing test. Only our 7th graders were involved. The 8th graders took a practice math test while the 7th graders were involved in the real deal.

I was a writing test administrator. One of the kiddies in my testing group was so stressed that when it came time to write his essay, he froze. I watched this poor child sit and stare at a blank sheet of paper for almost two hours. He finally looked at me and I asked him how it was going. He was on the verge of tears. I asked him if he wanted to keep trying. He said, “No.” I picked up his test and sent him on his way.

And then I closed my door, sat back, and cried. I like to think that I’m pretty strong emotionally. Watching that poor kid struggle for so long and not be able to even write one word absolutely tore my heart out. I wish I could have given him some ideas so that he could start writing. Under the strict rules of the test administration, all I could do was encourage him to “do his best.” When a kid is shutting down and in crisis because of test anxiety, encouraging him to “do his best” is about as helpful as a wad of gum being stuck in the wall of a leaking reservoir.

I remember last year around this time when hubby was sharing TAKS horror stories of his own. Kids so stressed they were crying, even throwing up because they were afraid of failing the TAKS and possibly being held back a grade because of it. Hubby works in an elementary school. I laughed because it sounded so ridiculous.

It’s still ridiculous. And it’s not funny.

What are we doing to our kids?

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