High Stakes Tests Make Kids Sick

This Wednesday the UFT passed a resolution that says, in part

“the current intensity of the standardized test taking and test prep affects children emotionally and physically leading to anxiety, frustration, low self-esteem, headaches, and other physical ailments”

This text was offered as an amendment by Maria Ramos, a New Action leader at the September 23 UFT Executive Board meeting, and it was accepted as friendly.

Maria spoke to the amendment:

Over the years as a school psychologist in the spring just before the ELA and math tests are administered I conduct “De-Stress the Test” Workshops to students, teachers and at PTA meetings. I have also observed 2nd graders take pilot tests. I have conducted hundreds of interviews with students as well. I begin by writing one word on the Smart Board and circle it. “Tests”. I asked the students how that word makes you feel.  90% of the responses are the same: “I’m scared”, “I’m sad”, and “I’m afraid”. “I don’t want to be left back”, “nervous”, “tired”. Children also complain of sleeplessness, headaches and stomachs. This borders on child abuse.  I don’t need to tell you how stressed out teachers are. The parents’ responses are interestingly the similar to their children.

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1 Response to “High Stakes Tests Make Kids Sick”


  1. 1 ahumbleteacher October 12, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    To add to the choir, one could not agree more. Standardized tests have their (limited, mainly diagnostic) role in formal K-12 education, but were never meant to be used punitively against students and teachers, or to terrify them into viewing education as a means to have students pass tests.

    Good that Maria Ramos spoke up and that others supported her.

    It is not only sincere students who will be physically, mentally and emotionally sickened by having to take tests for which they cannot possibly be ready (as very little attention is given to matters of sequence, such as making sure that the children have fulfilled basic, commonsense prerequisites — including knowing English). Those of their teachers who are sincere will also be sickened, in all these ways, even more than they already are,

    Shame on the sightless elite of this country and on their henchmen. Shame on people like Duncan, Rhee, Bloomberg, Klein Walcott, King et all.


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