Opt-Out Clause Sends Wrong Message

To The Reader’s Forum:

It is a sad state of affairs when parents do not support that which has the potential to enhance the whole intellectual and academic development of their children. To withdraw from or encourage children not to take an exam sends the wrong message; it encourages disrespect toward those who spend countless hours trying to academically better the system; it promotes rebellion in children: “I do not have to do this if I don’t want to;” it disregards the authority of educators and administrators; finally, I believe it promotes intellectual cowardice by not wanting to admit or accept how one’s child measures against his or her peers. To reiterate Jonathan Burman’s question, “Why wouldn’t a parent want to know how well his or her child is doing?” This is especially true since these tests are not designed to label or grade students. They are designed to gauge what has been learned and to understand how best to develop and implement curricular and instructional programs. As JPS Superintendent Mains said, “The assessments are low-stakes, and do not have an impact on a child’s placement or grade.”

Nobody likes to take tests. I surely didn’t. But there is always something to be learned from a test. For one, tests force us to revisit old information; maybe even seek greater knowledge. Test-taking may even teach us how to organize newly-acquired knowledge, and bond it with what we already know and, it can teach us how to handle stress and anxiety. It also teaches us how to gauge our time. This is real life application: Given a task to complete in our jobs, we may not be able to work at our own pace as there are deadlines to be met. I am reminded of my college professor who always pointed out to us that life is a series of tests. Make no mistake, he would say, we are tested, graded, evaluated all through life whether it be applying for a job, a loan, a scholarship, joining a sports team, or even considering a mate for life. Some tests indeed may not measure what they purported to measure; results will help improve the instruments. We may find tests unjust and a waste of time but that too is a part of life.

Elaine McKee,