Thanks to the New York State Assessment Exams, the past two weeks have been quite stressful for me as a parent of a 7th grader and a 3rd grader. Blame it on me being a nervous mother or flashbacks of my own test anxieties, but I found myself doing Pepto-Bismol shots each morning.
I know that both of my kids were prepared well for the New York State tests – both the ELA’s and Math Assessments. For awhile, it seemed like all they did was take practice tests. The morning of the tests (day 1 of 6), I put perfectly sharpened No. 2 pencils in each of their back-packs. I also followed the guidelines sent home by the elementary principal and the robo-call from the middle school principal. (Go to bed early, healthy breakfasts, reaffirm my belief in their ability to succeed and send them off with a hug and a reminder to do their best.)
My cool 7th grader was just that – totally focused and ready to get the New York State tests over with, although seemingly more interested in his abbreviated periods for the six days. Fortunately, he tests well and it is not a big deal. My 3rd grader, a test virgin, had some concerns. He knew that he knew the material, but the whole “TEST” thing kind of spooked him. I have friends with kids who were panic stricken – one boy was so nervous that he woke up at night terrified about not doing well on the test, another suffered from anxiety with crying and belly aches because he said the teacher told the class that they had to do well. Outside of my own kids, I felt even more disturbed when I read in the newspaper that there were mistakes on some of New York State tests for both fourth and eighth graders. My teacher friends were also stressed as they are being graded on how their students score.
Although I understand some of the reasons for these New York State tests, as a parent, I truly wish that there was a less stressful way for both the kids and parents to deal with them. Hopefully, we can all relax until those envelopes arrive in the mail in the middle of the summer.
Did your kids take New York State tests this year? Were they worried about how they will score? Were you worried about their scores or ambivalent towards the whole thing?