Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hope for the Future

My second-grader took the initiative to create a standardized test for Kindergartners.

I discovered this as I stopped by the Art Table to peruse the latest creations. There on top sat a multiple-choice, bubbled-in test of four questions about Littlest Pet Shop in an eight-year-old's handwriting. She had administered the test to her six-year-old brother after instructing him to bubble in his answers completely.

After a quick data review, it became apparent that the six-year-old boy performs at the Proficient level when it comes to Littlest Pet Shop (LPS). He missed an Advanced score by one question, but—to be fair—there were only four questions on the test.
“What did you want this information for?” I asked the test creator.

She looked at me blankly. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, did you want to see what your brother already knew about Littlest Pet Shop? Did you want to know what he was ready to learn next? Was it a baseline assessment so that you could show growth in the future? Were you applying for grants?”

“No. I made these Littlest Pet Shop worksheets. If he passed the test, then he would win them.” She showed me the worksheets, which were small and resembled trading cards.
“Did he pass?”

“Yep,” she said.

“May I borrow your test?”

“Just bring it back.”

As I scanned the two-page test into my computer, I couldn’t help but marvel at what a great test it is. In the multiple choice options, the detractor choices are plausible; the correct answers are almost equally distributed among A, B, C, and D.

This gives me great hope for the future. So far, our daughter has told us that she wants to be a writer, an artist, and owner of a restaurant, and we have encouraged her to chase these desires. If she does all three simultaneously, she might earn enough to live in our basement. Perhaps she should consider writing state-mandated assessments; after all, the state of New York alone paid Pearson $32 million last year to produce a standardized test. If she writes test questions for Pearson, runs a restaurant, writes books of poetry, and sells her art, maybe we could live in her basement.

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