Standardized tests are the bane of every parent, teacher and child’s existence. Show me a kid who says they love taking standardized tests, and I’ll show you a kid whose pants are just moments from spontaneous combustion. The pressure put on kids to perform on these exams is higher than ever, and it’s not unheard of for parents to spend hundreds or even thousands on test prep or tutors. Back in the Triassic era when I was growing up, I was the type of kid who would have panic attacks right before test day, the pressure was so high. So any time I see a story like this school in the United Kingdom who sent an unbelievably heartwarming letter of support to their students regarding testing make the onion cutting ninjas come out to play.
According to Today, Barrowford Primary School in the U.K. sent a touching letter to their students regarding the KS2 exam, which is is designed to measure math, reading, spelling, punctuation, and grammar abilities. From the letter:
“These tests do not always assess all of what it is that make each of you special and unique,” the letter reads, in part. “The people who create these tests and score them do not know each of you the way your teachers do, the way I hope to and certainly not the way your families do . . . The scores you get will tell you something, but they will not tell you everything.”
I wish this type of thing happened more often in my part of the world. I’m unsure of how it works in the U.K., but in the United States a lot of school funding is dependent on how well the student body does on specific standardized tests. According to some of my teacher friends, this often forces them to teach to the test or face their students doing poorly on exams tied to school funding. And considering how poorly-funded many schools are already, this doesn’t leave a lot of room for alternative teaching methods or working with students who don’t fit the mold that standardized testing is trying to make