Last week, I said that I’m not sure the standardized tests our kids take today help very much, and suggested that maybe we should go on strike – simply not send our kids to school to take them.
Well, today, my daughter started taking hers (no, I didn’t keep her home). I was surprised to learn that her school (apparently along with many) prohibits students from reading if they finish these tests early. Evidently, there is some evidence or belief that students will rush through the test in order to get back to their books, and that this will lower scores.
I told her not to worry about it, and assured her that I’ll be OK if I get a phone call from the vice-principal saying, “Sir, we caught your daughter reading in school.”
While we’re on the subject of education, here’s some more interesting reading:
1) How well you do depends largely on how well you think you’re going to do. Go to article. . .
2) Recess improves grades. Go to article. . .
The second article is not a surprise. Harvard psychiatrist John Ratey has done extensive research, some right here in Naperville, on the impact of exercise on mood, attention, cognitive performance and learning (see http://www.johnratey.com/newsite/index.html). He concludes roughly that:
0.5Hr Serious Exercise = (1Prozac + 1Ritalin + 1Grade Level)
I started paying attention to this a few years ago, when I did some work in the arena of for-profit education. In addition to exercise, blood-sugar levels also make a difference. Exercise and breakfast are not substitutes for great teachers, but they matter. It turns out that if a school wants to increase student performance by a grade level or two, running them ragged for half an hour first thing in the morning, then feeding them a big bowl of oatmeal actually is a good way to start.