Teachers Tell 10-Year-Olds the Truth About Standardized Tests -- And Test Makers Won't Like It

Everywhere you turn, you'll find children who are beyond stressed out because they are measuring their self-worth based on how they score on one or a few Scantron tests. One school in England sent an inspirational, sweet, and honest letter to its 10- and 11-year-old students right before a huge exam and it's one every student should read.


Students at Buckton Vale Primary School are about to sit for their SATs, which are a series of educational assessments given to children when they are in the U.S. equivalent of fifth grade. Naturally, they are fearful and nervous. Understandably, they—like students in the U.S. who may even be our own children—are so consumed with test anxiety that they're confusing the results of one or two tests with their actual, true intelligence.

Guess who has refused to buy into the idea that testing is everything? The students' teachers—three of whom signed an amazing letter that quickly went viral after it was posted on the school's Facebook page:


Please see letter sent home to all Year 6 today (Friday 8th May)EDIT. These words were written by Mary Ginley back in...

Posted by Buckton Vale Primary School Information on Friday, May 8, 2015

My favorite lines from the letter are: "The people who create these tests and score them do not know each of you the way we do and certainly not in the way your families do ... There are many ways of being smart. You are smart! So, while you are preparing for the test and in the midst of it all, remember that there is no way to 'test' all of the amazing and awesome things that make you, YOU!"

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As parents, we know every single word in this letter is 100 percent true. Our children are so much more than a few circled-in bubbles on a piece of paper. They show their intelligence is ways that can't be captured on your typical exam. We hear their intelligence when they speak, create art, accomplish tasks, build, figure things out on their own, and express their understanding of cultures, the world, and themselves through dance, poetry, and song.

None of which are going to come through on a exam.

Most teachers—as well as the majority of people who really get to know our children and their strengths—agree with the words in this letter. Kids need to hear that their value and worth isn't measured by a few random questions on a test. It's sad and unfortunate that these tests have come to mean everything, and I truly believe, in a few years, we're going to look back and realize what a stupid mistake it is not to focus on the whole child and rely on a portfolio-based assessment, rather than a few Scantron tests, to determine their mastery of content.

What do you think about this school's letter and tests like these?


Image via Brian Cantoni/Flickr

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