Monday, April 28, 2014

WESTEST and Tummy Aches

Seasons come and seasons go, right?  Just as the Christmas holidays roll into winter which eventually brings us Easter with the budding Spring, not long after for those of us subjected to the West Virginia public school system, comes...the WESTEST.  (da, da, dahm -- go the ominous kettle drums!)

The WESTEST 2 is a criterion referenced summative assessment.  It measures how well a student demonstrates competency on the West Virginia 21st Century Content Standards and Objectives.  The test measures students in Math, Science, Reading/Language Arts and Social Studies.

Here in Morgan County, West Virginia, (and elsewhere), standardized testing has become a device that measures much more than our children's competency.  A local, heated debate over funding education, the WESTEST has evolved into a representation of both teacher performance and administration's management of our school system.  Scores have been quoted, numbers manipulated, and stories told that piture our county to be "dumber than rocks." For weeks, my three Morgan County Students have rolled out the door to school bemoaning the oncoming and unavoidable exercise - the WESTEST.

This school year, our youngest hottling, Levi, will undergo his first experience to take the West Virginia Educational Standards Test.  And he is NOT happy.  Does this happen at your house too?  "WESTEST and Tummy Aches!" occur daily!  Stress, sleeplessness, and loss of appetite?  Why, why, WHY?!  As much as we reassure him that he will be just fine regardless of his WESTEST outcome, he continues to fret this week's assessments.

Even so, he cried a few days ago when they were scheduled for WESTEST Practice.  Really?!  And, don't get me started about last month's writing assessments.

This 48-year-old-grey-haired-PD bloggin-hott-mama-of-four has three students taking the test this school year.  Coming from a house of West Virginia roots, we have college graduates, a sister already with an MBA and honors, a soon-to-be-brother-in-law with a Masters in Economics from American University, and a couple of nerdy parents with University of MD BS and UMass BA degrees. I continue to push my Morgan County students out the door this morning much happier than Practice and Writing Assessment Days.

I wish everyone would quit harping on this WESTEST and just get it over with.  The build-up is unbearable.  We are NOT "dumber than rocks" W. Va. rednecks here!  In fact, I'm sending two "Distinguished Scholars" back to take this crazy test this year along with a first time third grader.  (Check out these pretty cute "rocks" from Frozen!")

Morgan County is full of some pretty smart rocks out there!  I wish this levy conflict would see how terrible it has made the school year for our children and the conflict would crawl back under the rock it came from.  The levy election and WESTEST can't be over soon enough.

Vote "yes" on May 13th!
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