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Topic: Eighth grader designs standardized test that slams standardized tests
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 16,576
Registered: 12/3/04
Eighth grader designs standardized test that slams standardized tests
Posted: Apr 18, 2013 5:17 PM
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From The Washington Post [The Answer Sheet /
Valerie Strauss], Wednesday, April 17, 2013. See
Eighth grader designs standardized test that slams standardized tests

A 13-year-old eighth grader in upstate New York
woke up on Sunday and decided that it would be
funny if she designed a standardized test that
made fun of standardized tests. (See below) After
all, Sophia Stevens was getting ready to take one
of the state's new Common Core-aligned
standardized tests on Tuesday, so the subject was
on her mind.

Unfortunately, she said, she has plenty of
occasions to think about standardized tests
because kids have to take too many of them. She
doesn't like it, she said, "because teachers are
always teaching to the test instead of teaching
stuff that would interest us or that they are
good at teaching."

She designed a mini eighth-grade reading test,
complete with tips on taking the test, a complete
reading passage and multiple choice questions to
answer. The reading passage begins:

Dear New York State,

I am not fond of your tests. They do not show you
who I am, or who my teachers are. For example, if
a student is a bad test taker, you would look at
her test and think she is a bad student. What
happens if a kid is just having a bad day? You
would only see that one test and and think he was
an unsatisfactory pupil. Imagine how stressed the
teachers are having to rely on their students'
test scores as a form of evaluation.

Not all students are the same, therefore
standardized tests are impractical. Albert
Einstein once said, "Everyone is a genius, but if
you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree,
it will live its whole life believing that it is
stupid." These tests can lower self-esteem and
cause a lot of anxiety. The tests are so long
that, by the last day of testing, some kids end
up guessing, just so they can be done. How can
you put eight-year-old kids through six days of
testing over a two-week time frame?.

Children with special needs have even greater
trouble with these exams. The tests are a total
waste for themŠ.

Sophia is a high-achieving student (she has a
97.2 average) at Saranac Middle School in
Saranac, N.Y. Her mother said she came up with
the idea for this test all on her own. She worked
on it for hours, and then realized that it was
more than a joke. "She has a great perspective,"
Laura Stevens said about her daughter.

Sophia said she normally has no problem with all
of the standardized tests she has to take in
school, but this new Common Core-aligned exam was
harder than the others. "I'm a little worried
about this one," she said.

Here's Sophia Stevens' standardized test that critiques standardized tests:

Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
625 Wham Drive
Mail Code 4610
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610
Phone: (618) 453-4241 [O]
(618) 457-8903 [H]
Fax: (618) 453-4244

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