The Tests Are Here

Apr 20, 2016 by

Your kids are freaking out. You are freaking out. Rest assured, your kid’s teachers are really freaking out.

The Tests are upon us. Starting Monday.

The only difference is the name. Previously known as the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, the state in its infinite wisdom has mellowed the verbiage to the Georgia Milestones Assessment System.

In the biblical book of Ecclesiastes, there is a verse that states: “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

In other words, changing the name of a test still makes it a test.

Below is a column I wrote when the SONS first started taking the CRCTs. For comparison, I’ve included the definition of the Milestones system. Again, nothing changes.

“The Georgia Milestones Assessment System is designed to provide information about how well students are mastering the state-adopted content standards in the core content areas of language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. Importantly, Georgia Milestones is designed to provide students with critical information about their own achievement and their readiness for their next level of learning.”

On to part of the original column:

According to the state Board of Education website, the CRCTs are “producing well-designed assessments aligned to the state curriculum with timely dissemination of results.”

In English, this means “we’re testing to see if your kid has learned anything and we’ll let you know as soon as we can.”

The friendly website even lets us know what the CRCT really is, as only a state can do: “The CRCT is designed to measure how well students acquire the skills and knowledge described in the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS). The assessments yield information on academic achievement at the student, class, school, system and state levels. This information is used to diagnose individual strengths and weaknesses as related to the instruction of the GPS, and to gauge the quality of education throughout Georgia.”

Again, in English, this means “determining whether your kid is smart or dumb, and whether you’d kill to get into this school district or, give it up, your school sucks.”

With three boys in various stages of education, we’ve been through this week several times. It does not seem to get any easier. We continue to get the notes from teachers telling us to make sure the kids eat a well-balanced breakfast, get plenty of sleep, and so on and so forth.

It never happens.

I got up the first morning and cooked a quite incredible breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, toast and jam and even some orange juice. Making the breakfast is not the problem; getting the SONS to actually get out of bed is.

For some reason, the more important the day, the harder it is to get them up. By the second day, we’re down to cereal. After that, I’m throwing them granola bars and pushing them out the door because we are, once again, going to be late. Which brings on stress, according to the teachers, which means they won’t focus, which means they won’t do well, which means …

I always get a kick going over the “rules” of the CRCT with the SONS. It’s sort of a joke now, but there continues to be a debate. It goes something like this:

“YOU CAN’T PEE!!!!”

“YOU CAN’T POOP!!!!”

“YOU CAN’T THROW UP!!!”

Wait, what was that last one?

“YOU CAN’T THROW UP … YOU HAVE TO HOLD IT!!!!”

There are other rules as well, which apparently vary depending on whether one is in elementary or middle school. Or, the rumors on said rules have taken a life of their own.

For the elementary school, one must sit quietly after finishing. However, one may play thumb wars – by oneself. And now we know where the phrase “twiddling your thumbs” came about.

For the middle school, you apparently are required to read after finishing. Quoting the eldest SON: “They want to make sure our brains keep thinking.”

As I quoted earlier, there is nothing new under the sun.

Until next time.

 

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