Thursday, September 5, 2013

Testing: Discovering The Limits - Measuring The Growth



Song:  Sparrow

Artist:  Miika Mettiainen



(The dinning room table...Alex's place of study since he was very young.
A place where Momma, and I, can easily monitor, and guide, Alex in his studies).




Everyday, as I drive Alex home from school...
we discuss what he had learned on that day.

Today he had told me that they had taken a critical reading test
which had some grade appropriate questions...
on up through College level questions (designated as such).

(The teacher had told his class that he wouldn't reveal the individual scores
until the end of the year...although he had given the point spread...
and the class average).


It was designed to push the envelope of the students...
to not only find where they are in their capability to read and understand...
but, as they will take the same type of test at the end of the year...
it is designed to measure how much they had grown during the school year.


Alex had taken this test in his Social Studies class.
His Social Studies teacher is the one he was so fortunate to have
gotten once again from last year.

He is one of Alex's most...
enthusiastic...
energetic...
and imaginative teachers.

This was not a school wide test.

His teacher continually seeks out ways to improve his students...
in not only course specific knowledge...
but through his assignments which stress critical reasoning...
imagination and creativity...
advanced writing in many forms of essays and in free writing...
he develops them into students who can handle the assignments
of grades beyond their own.

I was impressed by this teacher when I had first heard him
address parents at a parent / teacher meeting 
at the beginning of the school year last year.


He had said that his expectations were high...
and that as Coral Academy of Science is a College Prep school...
his work is designed to prepare them for the rigors of a University.


Alex has grown so much under this particular teacher...
especially in his ability to research and construct more advanced
papers, and in his imaginative writing skills.

It is through higher standards...
and the guidance necessary to achieve those standards...
that higher performance is achieved.

Now...
what each of you must be thinking...
this teacher is very confident in his teaching abilities.

By establishing a baseline...
and then teaching the students in his course
how to become better critical readers and writers...
and then retesting them...
he is putting his own credibility on the line.

Yes...
that is true confidence.

I have no doubt that this teacher will succeed
(so long as a student does not give up).

This teacher does not fear this test of himself...
he knows what must be done...
and how to lead others to the goal.



I know many students fear tests.

This comes about for two basic reasons:

They are not given the necessary tools to understand...
or are not given the path to follow to understanding.

They fail to apply the tools given...
or fail to follow through on the given path.


The proper development of study habits is crucial
to the future of a child.


For the most part...
a child will often not study enough.

However, it is not enough to merely blame a child for not studying.
He must be guided to proper studying habits by the parents.

Enough time must be devoted to studying on a daily basis.

First priority should be the homework.

As soon as they get home...
other than a light snack...
nothing other than concerted effort in their studies should be done.

The house should be quiet...
no distractions.



Conceptual guidance must be given.


A child is a traveler lost in a forest of trees.
A parent is not only his guide...
he is his teacher.

He shows him how to find his way through the forest
by teaching him how to find the path in any forest.

With conceptual guidance...
a child won't fear his homework because
he won't have the frustration of being lost.


This is where parental leadership is forged.
This is where parental trust...is earned.



If established early...
supported and encouraged throughout...
a child will learn to love taking tests.

It will become a time of discovering weaknesses
as a means of identifying areas in which to concentrate effort...
 which then may be looked upon as areas to be conquered...
and so...leading them to continual growth.

With continued testing...
a child will become encouraged by his growth...
and so long as he is adequately prepared for them...
he will look upon testing as a time to demonstrate
the results of all of his efforts.

He will be filled with true pride in his accomplishments.
He will look forward to all future tests as a result.


It is when a child knows...
for whatever reason...
that he is not prepared...
this is when he suffers from anxiety.


If he studies daily...
while under the guidance of his parents...
he will be prepared.










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