I recently posted on the Thoughts on Public Education website about the possibility of eliminating standardized testing for second graders, a passionate goal of mine. The author of the posting believes we should formally assess children these young second graders, a thought with which I fervently disagree.
Here’s my response:
I was thrilled to hear about Sen. Loni Hancock’s bill to eliminate standardized testing for second graders. The second grade version of the STAR test is given orally, not as a written exam, and there is no leeway for those students who need extra time, as every child must answer every question as the teacher reads it aloud.
As an Early Childhood Educator, working with families with young children birth through 8 years old, I can assure you that second graders are still learning to read and write at their own developmental pace. Why are we rushing to formally assess their institutional “progress” while they are still in early childhood? By third grade, the curriculum advances rapidly and teachers are well aware which children need additional support.
My own son couldn’t sleep the week before testing, anxious from the high stakes pressure-cooker environment of this second grade testing period. These children are still adjusting to the academic environment of formal schooling and should be assessed by the professional teacher in their classroom.
Heidi Emberling, MA, http://www.connectforchildren.com