There are two parts: Math and Reading. Math is the tricky one. The importance of knowing your addition, subtraction, and multiplication tables is NO LONGER NEEDED!!! I know....unbelievable!! Say the problem is 1+1. In years past you would simply answer: 2. Well you are WRONG. You now have to EXPLAIN how you got the answer. "Uh, I memorized it" is also the wrong answer. I don't really even know how in the hell you are supposed to answer, but it involves a sentence. And punctuation. Because THAT is the key part of math.
Reading is even better! The children are taught to write a BCR on whatever material they have read. Someone said it BCR stood for Brief Constructed Response, but I looked it up and the correct definition is Buncho' Crap, Really. For your BCR you need three examples from the text to support your answer. Soooo....any other time when just one answer might do, you now have to come up with THREE. This is an example of some of Julian's finer work. Question: "Do you like ice cream?" Answer 1. I like it because it tastes good. 2. I like it because it is fun to eat 3. I like it because it is fun that it tastes good. Score: 0 out of 3.
The long winded point of this story is that these stupid tests are ruining the ability for our children to just ANSWER THE QUESTION. They are so used to having to add a million details (however small) to arrive at the right answer. Question:" How was your day at school?" (The correct answer is: Good, Ok, or Bad). NOT "Well, I ride blue bus. Enter through the doors.Walk up the stairs to my class. I have a new teacher. I hang up my backpack, and blah, blah blah." Ten hours later, and a boiling down results in "Really Good! I have a new homeroom teacher." Ahhh, the joys of standardized tests. Can't wait for another round!!
One of my favorite MSA sheets from Julian last year was titled "MSA Activity- Feelings and Self-Control". This was the question: " A third grade boy feels angry because someone knocked his lunch tray out of his hands, dumping food all over the floor. Explain how the boy could deal with this unpleasant emotion in a healthy way. Support your answer with information from the text."
This was Julian's answer......"He could tell a teacher, or get revenge." Whoops. Didn't do so good on THAT one!!!