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#1 of 9 Old 08-09-2011, 07:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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For those of you who are against MEAP, CAT or any other tests that are required in the third grade, what are your reasons and what reasons would be somewhat legitimate to get a kid exempt?

 

I have always been anti-standardized testing.  My reasons are:

I don't want my child compared to others

They are a complete waste of time

They encourage teaching to the test

It encourages kids to focus on learning that is not important

They have YEARS to learn "how" to take a test

It can become stressful and overwhelming for kids

 

And, I'm a homeschooler at heart that doesn't believe in testing to begin with.  I know the school really wants her for statistical purposes and $$$, but I have a really sick feeling about it.  Would it be better to just keep my 3rd grader home while explaining to the teacher my beliefs or request that she be allowed to have reading/library time?

 

Is there a thread anywhere with this discussion?

Sarah


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#2 of 9 Old 08-09-2011, 08:11 PM
 
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I can't say I agree totally. I'm no fan of testing but we've been through it 8 times now and it continues to be no big deal. Our district has not resorted to teaching to the test and very little time is spent on test prep. There is no comparison. The kids don't even know their scores in most cases. The staff take it with a grain of salt and most parents do too. I tested every year when I was in school too and again, just no big deal.

 

However, to answer your question, it's fairly easy to opt out in our district. Certainly discuss it with your teacher and principal. Just keeping your child out will result in them wanting her to make-up the testing later. They won't be happy as it does affect their standing and their money but they can't force your child to test. I do know a few parents who opted their kids out for stress. Their kids were struggling students though and so it was quite understandable.


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#3 of 9 Old 08-09-2011, 09:08 PM
 
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Here is a  link with contacts & paperwork on who and why and whom to contact about getting your child exempt from taking the MEAP. IT may be older though- so the guidelines may have changed. 

 

http://education.wayne.edu/wholeschooling/WS/Initiatives/MEAP/MEAPexempt.html

Hope this helps! Your best bet may be to call the MEAP offices and see what your options are and to make sure you fill out the exemption properly.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamatoady View Post

 

I don't want my child compared to others

 

They will do this regardless. Assessment in varied forms will occur in public schools no matter what. Actually- MEAP type testing is the one type the kiddos usually are unaware of the results. Ask any 1st + kid and they can tell you what sort of comparison in the class (who is good at reading, who is a good artists, etc).

 

They are a complete waste of time

 

In some ways they are, but somehow someway the schools have to be accountable for grade level material. Is the MEAP and other testing the right way- no I dont believe so. But right now it is all they have.

 

They encourage teaching to the test

 

Depends on the school/teacher/atmosphere. Some teach to test more than others. Technically- the grade level curriculum IS supposed to be what is on the test (not the other way around- the test being the basis for what to teach for the grade).

 

It encourages kids to focus on learning that is not important

 

I agree somewhat. But so far, no one has a better alternative to assess the student masses.

 

They have YEARS to learn "how" to take a test

 

Agreed- again. In 3rd grade it seems a bit overmuch. But in High School- it is a good skill to know going into college where similar tests may be common.

 

It can become stressful and overwhelming for kids

 

It can be. This is the biggest reason I dont like them. For SOME kids it is very stressful. I worked with kiddos that struggled with learning and the MEAP was an awful experience. Although, the state does allow for kiddos with IEPs/504 to have extra time, a reader, a scribe, etc to help alleviate some of the anxiety for some parts of the testing.

 

 

 

 Would it be better to just keep my 3rd grader home while explaining to the teacher my beliefs or request that she be allowed to have reading/library time?

 

Dont keep her home. They will simply have her make it up another day.

 

Some areas are more lenient than others. Some you need particular documentation (the school  has to turn this in to the state) and it may be more difficult. But waivers are out there and parents do exempt their kiddos.

 

 



 



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Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

I can't say I agree totally. I'm no fan of testing but we've been through it 8 times now and it continues to be no big deal. Our district has not resorted to teaching to the test and very little time is spent on test prep. There is no comparison. The kids don't even know their scores in most cases. The staff take it with a grain of salt and most parents do too. I tested every year when I was in school too and again, just no big deal.

 

However, to answer your question, it's fairly easy to opt out in our district. Certainly discuss it with your teacher and principal. Just keeping your child out will result in them wanting her to make-up the testing later. They won't be happy as it does affect their standing and their money but they can't force your child to test. I do know a few parents who opted their kids out for stress. Their kids were struggling students though and so it was quite understandable.


Ditto above. It is a disliked, but right now-- needed for schools to get funding related to student performance.

 

Teachers dislike it, parents dislike it, but until there is an alternate solution the administration has to administer it in order to get funding and be able to prove accountability under NCLB act it is the only route to funding. 

 

Do I think it is an accurate judge of learning? NO. Does it allows kiddos that may learn differently express what they know? NO It is an age appropriate way to express learning for 3rd graders? NO

 

A small percentage of students with Special Needs can be exempt (I *think * 2%), but otherwise if a school has too many kids that dont take it- they lose out on funds.  If a large majority of  children did not take it at a particular school it could devastate the schools operational budget and may allow for the lose of teachers/programs.

 

 

 Even some homeschoolers take the tests as part of their annual assessments.

 

I would do a search on test exemption or standardized test exclusion and see if any older threads pop up.

 

Good Luck! I hope you get an exemption for your kiddo.

 

Hopefully, in the future they will be able to do portfolios or some other form of accountability for Elementary kiddos that is more age appropriate.

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#4 of 9 Old 08-10-2011, 06:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies.  I did a google search and found an MSU website saying that up to 40% of instruction time is spent preparing for MEAP--which is rediculous to me.  My 8 year old is someone who struggles with Math in particular.  She HAS TO take her time and I have been working with her to really take her time when doing homework or anything else math related.  Otherwise she just gives up and says she can't do it.  The MSU website also said that the test IS a comparison test so even if your kid meets standards, half of the kids will always fall below average. 

 

We'll see, I guess.  New teacher, new year.  I know I have to pick my battles.  I'm against testing all together, but the only way to truly be test-free is to homeschool which isn't an option right now for this single mama.

 

Thanks again!

Sarah


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#5 of 9 Old 08-10-2011, 08:57 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamatoady View Post

Thanks for the replies.  I did a google search and found an MSU website saying that up to 40% of instruction time is spent preparing for MEAP--which is rediculous to me.  My 8 year old is someone who struggles with Math in particular.  She HAS TO take her time and I have been working with her to really take her time when doing homework or anything else math related.  Otherwise she just gives up and says she can't do it.  The MSU website also said that the test IS a comparison test so even if your kid meets standards, half of the kids will always fall below average. 

 

We'll see, I guess.  New teacher, new year.  I know I have to pick my battles.  I'm against testing all together, but the only way to truly be test-free is to homeschool which isn't an option right now for this single mama.

 

Thanks again!

Sarah



And what qualifies as this 40 percent of time preparing for the MEAP? I don't know the MEAP but our state used the CAT and the CST. They are filled with skills a child of each grade should have. Does a lesson on addition count towards this 40 percent as addition is covered in the test? That's quite different from that 40 percent spent on filling in bubbles correcting or how to guess at an answer you don't know. KWIM?

 

Yes, you do get percentiles on your kid but it's not something that has to effect them. In truth, the percentiles are less about them and more about the school itself. Individual scores really don't matter and it's not something a kid ever has to see. It's the group scores they are interested in. If the majority of the class is below average in math, well, the school has a problem. What are they teaching if the majority can't get average on a grade level math test? If an individual scores low, well, it can be caused by all sorts of reasons. You just take it for what it is... a snap shot of your child at one moment. Take them with a grain of salt.

 

You might have a legitimate reason to pull her from testing if she needs extra time and struggles. 

 

 


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#6 of 9 Old 08-10-2011, 09:17 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post





And what qualifies as this 40 percent of time preparing for the MEAP? I don't know the MEAP but our state used the CAT and the CST. They are filled with skills a child of each grade should have. Does a lesson on addition count towards this 40 percent as addition is covered in the test? That's quite different from that 40 percent spent on filling in bubbles correcting or how to guess at an answer you don't know. KWIM?

 

Exactly. That is my take on it. Yes-- instructional time is spent on MEAP material, but honestly MORE time should be spent on curriculum. Curriculum is supposed to be taught to state standards. Standards are what are on the MEAP. A small percentage of time is spent on learning how to fill in the bubbles correctly, which tedious as it is....is needed to make sure that the results are accurate.

 

You might have a legitimate reason to pull her from testing if she needs extra time and struggles. 

 

Yes. BUT also look into accommodations. Kiddos can qualify for all sorts of accommodations- including extra time, their own testing area (vs in classroom), a scribe, writing in the booklet (vs transferring to bubble sheet), a 'reader' for instructions. Ask what your school can do- if you do decide to let your kiddo take the MEAP or other testing, you may find they allow for a less stressed atmosphere than you would expect. Again, this varies by school and administrator, but the ones I worked with were fairly open to ideas since it meant the kiddos would do well.

 


Yes, it is scaled for age/grade. But that does not mean that 50% of kids fail. It simply places percentiles on what kiddos that age/grade know/dont know. It is not set up to fail a kid, rather MOST kiddos will fall in the 25-75 percentile- that is the natural bell curve.

 

Look at www.greatschools.com for your local school- you can see the percentage of kiddos that have 'passed' grade level expectation on the MEAP for grade and school. It is helpful to know if that school is teaching at/above/below the state mandated standards.

 

Some schools have a 90-100% pass rate for reading and math testing. That means ALMOST all or all the kids in that grade were at or above the grade level expectations. Some struggling schools have a 30% pass rate....they often will get outside assistance in making sure that the kiddos in that school are able to master the grade level skills better. That can include free tutoring, extra staff, etc.

 

 

 

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#7 of 9 Old 08-10-2011, 10:17 AM
 
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Quote:

Would it be better to just keep my 3rd grader home while explaining to the teacher my beliefs or request that she be allowed to have reading/library time?

 

I would look into your state requirements and your rights.

 

You are free to act upon your rights and I would do so.

 

If you don't want your child tested don't do it.

 

I would never explain my beliefs to the teacher it really doesn't matter it's administrative anyway.

 

 

seems like you are aware of what can happen to the school regarding funding, you still are the parent and can act in your child's best interest

 

 

hope you do what makes you feel comfortable 

 

 


 

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#8 of 9 Old 08-10-2011, 10:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamatoady View Post

Would it be better to just keep my 3rd grader home while explaining to the teacher my beliefs or request that she be allowed to have reading/library time?

 



I wanted to add to this. I wouldn't keep her home even if you choose not to test. The elementary schools in our area break up the testing over 2 or 3 weeks. This means that kids only test for like 20 or 30 minutes in the morning, 3 days a week. Your DD could miss a whole lot of school needlessly by pulling her out. Find out what the schools do during this time too. My kids actually love testing because they would get extra recesses, no homework, treats like orange slices and bananas, get to chew sugarless gum in class, get to wear pajamas certain days, ect. They would also get raffle tickets for getting to school on time, being quiet in the halls and double checking their work. At the end of testing, they draw for tons of cool prizes like bikes and such. I know, it sounds silly but the kids love it and it actually gives the test scores a significant bump because the kids are enthusiastic and doing their best. Even my highschooler still loves testing because they get minimum days the whole week lol. Basically, there might be a lot she's missing by staying home. It's not like when we were kids and you just spent a full day testing and that was that.

 

 

 


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#9 of 9 Old 08-10-2011, 11:07 AM
 
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Quote:
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I wanted to add to this. I wouldn't keep her home even if you choose not to test. The elementary schools in our area break up the testing over 2 or 3 weeks. This means that kids only test for like 20 or 30 minutes in the morning, 3 days a week. Your DD could miss a whole lot of school needlessly by pulling her out. Find out what the schools do during this time too. My kids actually love testing because they would get extra recesses, no homework, treats like orange slices and bananas, get to chew sugarless gum in class, get to wear pajamas certain days, ect. They would also get raffle tickets for getting to school on time, being quiet in the halls and double checking their work. At the end of testing, they draw for tons of cool prizes like bikes and such. I know, it sounds silly but the kids love it and it actually gives the test scores a significant bump because the kids are enthusiastic and doing their best. Even my highschooler still loves testing because they get minimum days the whole week lol. Basically, there might be a lot she's missing by staying home. It's not like when we were kids and you just spent a full day testing and that was that.

 

 

 

Yes..if you simply skipped the two or three weeks of testing you may get in trouble for truancy and still be faced with 'make-up' testing if you did not make it clear that your DC would not be taking the test. Likely it is paperwork simply stating you are choosing to not have your child participate-- I cant imagine they require you to explain yourself.

 

Make sure you get an exemption, then find out what the schools do with 'exempt' students.

 

I worked with kiddos that were exempt for Special Education reasons. We often did fun activities as the PP stated. The kids enjoyed the time at school and had special school-wide treats & extra recess.
 

 

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