LEAP testing week = hell week

The dreaded week of hell is upon us – LEAP testing week.  

If you have a child or children who are testing this week, then you know exactly what I mean. Except it’s not only this week. They have spent MONTHS preparing for this test. It is all I have heard and talked about since we began school last August.  

The amount of pressure they put on kids these days to do well on these annual assessment tests is beyond ridiculous. I get it… you want your school to do well and improve upon the previous year. The state believes those test scores are a reflection of the staff, teachers and students. A reflection of how well equipped the students are at retaining this information and how successful the teachers are at relaying it to them. So, it’s actually a lot of pressure all around – for the teachers, parents, school and students.  

This is Emerson’s first year taking a test like this and she has felt the pressure. Like I said, they have been preparing for this test with other similar practice tests that are scored very much like the actual LEAP test, placing them in categories ranging from Advanced, Mastery, Basic, Approaching Basic and Unsatisfactory.  

I asked her how she felt a couple of weeks ago- A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO! I asked her if she was worried, nervous, scared, prepared, etc. She literally burst into tears. I have avoided the subject ever since. Well at least up until this morning. As she hopped out of the car at school, I whispered, “good luck,” for fear of her breaking down into hysterics again. And I am hesitant to even ask her how it went when I pick her up today. I will probably just wait to see if she willingly comes forth with this information on her own.  

Like I said, I understand why the schools want overall higher test scores. It comes with many benefits, but I do not think it is a clear reflection on the performance of a school. The school may test low but have some of the most dedicated and committed teachers in the state. Their time and effort cannot be reflected in just one test. The school may test low but have a great group of students who are not well at taking tests. The information they have learned and retained over the school year cannot be reflected in just one test.  

Parents, if your child is like mine and is feeling the immense pressure to do well on one of these standardized tests, just remind them that this test is not a reflection of who they are – period.  

I honestly and personally really wish they would do away with these types of tests all together. It has been proven that when a teacher is limited creatively due to their curriculum being based strictly around these tests, students end up lacking much needed life skills. 

I, for one, wish I had learned more about finances and taxes versus some mathematical algorithms that I cannot even remember the names of, much less actually use.

(Paige Nash is a wife, mom, digital journalist for Webster Parish Journal and publisher of Bienville Parish Journal and Claiborne Parish Journal who really wishes the LEAP test would take a flying leap.)