Archive for October 12th, 2013

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.