When teachers can't even pass the tests grade-school students are required to take, what hope is there for kids?
That's the point Abi Elphinstone, a Scottish writer and former English teacher, made in a thought-provoking Facebook post that's going viral.
In it, she revealed that she took — and failed — this year's SATs, which aren't even the college-preparatory exams US high school students agonize over. In the UK, SATs are standardized assessment tests given to 10-year-olds to evaluate their progress compared to other children in the same grade level.
The reason Elphinstone — who got a 25 percent score in math and a 40 percent in English, when 100 is the average — shared such low marks was to encourage kids not to panic about test scores.
I talk to the kids about resilience, determination and grit, not just in regards to exams but in regards to life, too. I'm very much on side with telling kids to work hard. But I am not on side with the English SATs test. It contains irrelevant and obscure information that does little to enrich a child's learning. Kids need to know the basic parts of speech — nouns, verbs, adjectives — to talk about a text analytically. But time spent ramming modal verbs and subordinating conjunctions down their throats . . . is time wasted.
Her post — which includes a photo of herself holding a sign that says, "You don't need to know what a modal verb or a subordinating conjunctive is to get where you want to go in life" — has gotten more than 179,000 reactions and has been shared more than 141,000 times.
Many parents praised her stance that the current testing system places little value in "creativity and imaginative flair."
As one mom put it: "I have just sat for an hour with my child crying over his school work. I said to him I have ambition, my own business, hard work ethic, and no [certificate of education], and I have a good happy life — life is too precious to cry over exams."
Still, others slammed Elphinstone's point, believing such tests — and a strong knowledge of grammar — are paramount to a child's success in today's education system. "Rubbish advice," one wrote. "Children need to learn that you have to work hard in this life and that starts at school."
What do you think of her message about school testing?