First graders should not be tested

This week I gave the first graders an assessment that should have been given at the beginning of the school year, but I didn’t start with these kids until late October and didn’t feel comfortable giving small children a test. Even now I was apprehensive about doing this. However, the chaplaincy office requires that we do this, and I was one of only two who had not submitted their scores by Christmas break.

Why are we required to give innocent little first graders an assessment? Because we have to show the district that what we are doing can be measured through a pre and post assessment, adding validity to what we do. Sigh. These are children who cannot read, have poor listening skills, and very few life experiences. Like playing over at a friend’s house.

One of the eight questions on the assessment asks what you would do if you did not come home at the right time from your friend’s house. Would you say it wasn’t your fault, or that your mother would call the next time, or, the preferred answer, that you would make a plan as to how be on time. I found out from one of the teachers that almost none of the kids go to friend’s houses and most cannot play outside because of drive-by shootings.  Funny thing, though, on the tests I’ve looked at, the kids chose the preferred answer. I’m not too sure about the validity of this.


5 responses to “First graders should not be tested

  1. The world has definitely changed, and not for the better. You sure got me thinking about the kids not being able to play outside because of drive-by shootings. How horrible! Thank God you are there to shepherd these little ones, Delaine. The work you are doing is so important.

  2. I taught first grade and never had to give a test like this. We did have to give standardized tests, but I told the kids that the test wouldn’t hurt them. If they didn’t get things right, it would be MY fault because I didn’t teach it to them correctly and I would have to work harder. I just laughed and jokingly said, “Try to make me look good, OK?” I never had a child get upset over any testing. It’s all in the presentation.

    • That is so true. We actually made this a game, and the kids have done remarkably well as I’ve been slowly scoring the assessments. Actually, the scores need to be low on this one and then high on the final one, but we will take what we can get from these small children. Like I said to one of my friends who is still teaching and under the gun for those scores, what are they going to do, fire me?

    • I’m also surprised to hear that you had to test first graders. They are not tested here in California until second grade.

  3. That’s little more than kindergarten.

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