Two of my children took the controversial new state exams Monday. This year’s tests, thought to be more rigorous than those used in the past, for the first time, reflect new national Common Core curriculum standards. State authorities have already warned that passing rates statewide could fall 30 percentage points or more when tests are scored but I am not having any anxiety attacks yet.
My sixth- and seventh-grader, both high honor roll students and who have done fairly well on standardized tests in past years, came home disappointed that they did not do well on the first day of testing. Both said that some of the questions were befuddling and one of my kids did not finish the test.
We won’t know until we get the results how well they did, but honestly, I don’t give a hoot. I told my kids not to worry about it and that they did the best they could. At which point, I caught myself since I sounded so unlike a Tiger Mom. Most Indian parents are Tiger Moms and Dads. If a child brings home a 95, the immediate reaction would be: “So, what happened to the other 5 points?” I wondered if I was being too lackadaisical.
The tests have their fair share of critics and supporters. I am not yet sure of the merits of this test. If it encourages kids to think critically, then I am all for it. If my kids score poorly, then the schools should train and prepare them to better develop the skills.
I remember being glued to the television last April when the space shuttle Enterprise came into New York airspace toward its final landing on the Intrepid. I wished my kids were watching the historic event on television at school but they did not. They were too busy studying their scripted lessons.
While I did wish my kids felt better about their test-taking experience, I was glad they came home to fewer homework assignments. Which meant they had some free time, to chill, watch TV and get to bed on time, for a change.