I continue to be a fan of streamlined testing as one way to assess schools and students' progress.
In this end, I thought about what it takes to get good scores on these tests. Here'a a short list.
- Lots of love and care.
- Basic needs: healthy food, activity, health care (including dental care), safe shelter and communities, and comfortable clothing that matches the weather requirements.
- Academic support with kind, caring, teachers and/or parents.
- Practice with good tools at that just right level of practice--not too hard and not too easy.
- Solid in-school program that's focused on the standards and developed in differentiated, progressive, multimodal, timely, and targeted ways.
- At-home practice for about 10-60 minutes a day depending on age. The practice should include at-home reading, writing, exploring, and math practice.
- Use of the many wonderful resources out there including local libraries, online games and practice sites, studying with friends, educational television, board games, play, and more.
There will be some who meet all the requirements above and still not get good scores due to processing and other issues. That doesn't mean these individuals won't be successful later on, but instead means that we have to take a closer look at their overall academic program to make the best choices so that these children move forward with confidence and positive learning.
In general though, if taught well and met with the conditions of excellence in their schools, neighborhoods, and homes, most young children will continue to progress on standardized tests. These tests alone, however, only measure a small fraction of a child's overall foundation for later success and happiness and should be used and budgeted for accordingly.