In The Mommy Zone Column

The Testing Travesty

Mommy Zone

Our family is thick into of a week’s worth of state-mandated testing.

For about a month now, my children have come home from school loaded down with educational year-end review packets, complete with bubble testing practice sheets. They have reviewed everything from science strategies to math misconceptions, reading requirements to language lessons.

From my high schoolers to my elementary school-aged daughters, even my junior high aged son in between, each has been barraged with a litany of learning and reassessment regiments in preparation for this grandiose week of compulsory testing.

We have received several copies of paper fliers, phone messages, and emails informing us of the importance and significance of these required and crucial tests. We have been warned to avoid making appointments during testing, reminded to make sure each student is well rested, and prompted to feed our children a hearty, nutritious breakfast beforehand.

Healthy snacks and cold water bottles are highly encouraged as well and each student is expected to dress comfortably to optimize testing ability and performance. In addition, particular pencils are required, as is silent reading material for students to peruse when testing is complete.

One phone message even encouraged parents to initiate blunt conversations with their children on the critical importance of scoring well on these compulsory exams, as particular schools use these required state tests to asses and rank students according to performance and in addition, utilize these scores for placement in competitive class courses.

It all seems a bit extreme to me.

The night before day one of testing flowed rather smoothly in our household. Several sets of comfortable school clothing were set out in anticipation and every child was tucked into bed early, while visions of successful testing strategies danced merrily through each imagination.

The next morning, I rose early and whipped up a breakfast feast fit for royalty. It included a nutritious blend of foods rich in energy stimulating fuel. For an added bonus, each child consumed at least 10 blueberries for good measure to aid in digestion and assist in proven brain boosting vitalization.

In turn, each child entered his or her prospective school well rested, well fed, well timed, well versed in test taking maneuvers, and with well wishes streaming their way. My children were joyful, eager test takers, complete with healthy snacks and cold water bottles in tow.

Testing success! I felt proud of myself.

I settled down to muse about my good fortune and superb organizational skills in creating a model testing environment for success, when reality struck me right between the eyes. I realized I had to perform this rigorous ritual four more times for the next four more days. Worse yet, my children had to do the same.

I wished that instead of creating a week’s worth of testing overload, the required focus would concentrate on the sheer enjoyment of learning my children have been blessed with this past school year. I longed for the day when my youngsters would be free from the inevitable angst of a week-long testing schedule and be unrestrained to study various school subjects because they want to, not because they have to.

But for now, the marathon testing travesty looms large. It’s a necessary evil we must all endure. I’d better go eat some blueberries, my attitude needs rebooting.