Don't Worry. Test Happy.

I’ve told my fifth grader every year since he was a third grader that he shouldn’t worry about the Connecticut Mastery Test. For some reason, however, he forgets each year and freaks out about his performance.

I’ve told him that the CMTs -- now being administered at a school near you -- are just a measure of how teachers are doing in terms of teaching their students, and his scores will not appear on any sort of permanent record. CMT scores are way more important to principals, town managers, mayors and real estate agents than they are to parents.

Yet he still panics. And I know he’s not alone. Despite teachers’ best efforts to not stress out their students, enough pressure is trickling down to the students. Teachers remind their students to not be nervous, which somehow makes them even more nervous.

Most every teacher I know would prefer to spend the winter teaching their students things that might never appear on a standardized test, rather than focus on these few weeks in March. This piece on California’s school woes offers an interesting look at ways to fix No Child Left Behind.

Deep breaths, kids. Just a few more days.

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