MY TURN - Parents talk about them. School administrators talk about them. Teachers talk about them.
But where do students stand on taking tests for the state on a yearly basis where their intelligence, memory and aptitude are used to measure their worth and value in our school systems.
I have asked several students to write how they feel about testing.
Periodically, their pieces will appear in CityWatch so we can hear what they truly feel.
Here is a piece by student Maryam Yazdi, 13.
The blood pounded in my ears as I entered the cold, bland classroom. I felt nervous and also relieved. I had made it to class on time. Yesterday, my teacher had warned the class that we’d have to arrive at school on time. If you didn’t, you’d get locked out and fail the CST’s. If you were caught talking, you’d get your test taken away. If you got caught standing without permission, you’d get a strike.
My usually calm teacher, Ms. Smith’s, voice quavered as she read off a piece of paper, her eyes darting nervously around the small room. “Please sit in your assigned seats.” She read. “When you sit down, put up the separators laying on your desks, then await further instruction.”
We all sleepily shuffled over to our assigned seats, and there was a scraping of chair legs and rustling of papers as we all sat down and set up the separators. “On your desks, you will each find a no.2 pencil, a test booklet, an answer sheet, and a blank piece of paper.” Ms. Smith continued, “If you don’t have one or more of these items, please raise your hand.” As she glanced around, only two people raised their hands. Ms. Smith scurried over to help them, while the rest of us took the extra time to take a few relaxing breaths.
When she was finished helping the two students, Ms. Smith announced, “You may now open your test booklets and begin!” There was more shuffling of paper, and a sound of pencils scratching on paper as everyone started. As the hours ticked by, I worried more and more. Was that the right answer? Had I skipped one? Would I finish the test on time?
Pretty soon, I was counting down the questions. Eight more. Five more. Three more. Two. One. Then, I stopped. I couldn’t remember the answer to the question. I only had a minute left of school, a minute to think of the answer. I finally thought of the answer, and the bell rang the second after. There was a resounding exhale all over the school.
Before I knew it, I was outside and on my way home. I wasn’t relieved to be finished. I wouldn’t be relieved until I got my test scores. And… They better be good. I am still waiting for them in the mail… I shouldn’t be worried. We learned all the material. I am a good student. But, during the test, I felt so freaked out that it was hard to focus
It left me wondering if I was a good student anymore.
(Diana Chapman is a CityWatch contributor and has been a writer/journalist for nearly thirty years. She has written for magazines, newspapers and the best-seller series, Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can reach her at: [email protected] or her website: theunderdogforkids.blogspot.com) –cw
Vol 11 Issue 55
Pub: July 9, 2013