In our school district, the elementary schools administer tests to the kids in September as a way of assessing reading skills.
We just received the results from these tests this past week.
As I expected, the kids performed very well.
Two of them scored above the 95th percentile in multiple areas.
Does it feel good to open up that envelope and see that my kids score higher in reading tests than the majority of the children their age in this country?
Sure. Yes. It feels great.
While we encourage reading and we read to the kids every night, that’s the extent of what we do at home with them.
We don’t do flashcards or practice sight words or do anything else.
So whatever they’ve learned they have learned at school.
Their scores are a testament to their natural ability and to their teachers.
It’s nice not to worry about my kids’ intellectual capabilities.
They are clearly intelligent.
But I look at my kids who have taken these tests, a five, six, and seven-year-old, and I say to myself, Do these scores really matter?
I already know the answer.
They are still young. They will learn to read regardless. And yeah, if their scores were at the other end of the reading spectrum, maybe that would be cause to intervene a little bit.
For the seven-year-old, anyway.
But right now, their reading scores are the least of my concerns.
There are other test scores that I’m much more concerned about.
Unfortunately, my elementary school aged kids don’t get tested on these things.
I don’t honestly care how many high frequency words my first grader can read.
But I do care if he’s kind.
I care if he’s respectful to his classmates and his teachers.
I care if he sticks up for someone who is being picked on.
I care if he shares his lunch with a kid in his class who may have forgotten his.
If there was a five dollar bill or someone’s prized Shopkin collection on the floor in the middle of the hallway and my kid discovered it, would she secretly pocket it, or would she give it to her teacher so the person who lost it could get it back?
If a kid in the lunchroom had no place to sit, would my kids notice this, move over, and invite that kid to sit with them?
If my kid had to take a test and he had the opportunity to cheat, would he do the right thing? Or would he take the easy way out?
What if my kid did something he wasn’t supposed to, but his friend was wrongfully blamed for it by the teacher?
Would he let his friend take the heat? Or would he tell the teacher the truth?
If a kid put his hands on my son at recess, how would he respond? Would he let someone know? Would he fight back? Would he do nothing and allow himself to be victimized?
If my daughter’s best friend was being mean to another girl at recess, would my daughter stick up for the girl being picked on, or would she say nothing, not wanting to make her best friend angry?
What are my kids’ empathy scores?
What are their responsibility scores?
What are their independence scores?
What are their resiliency scores?
What are their courage and communication and compassion scores?
How would they score on those tests?
As far as I’m concerned, at the five, six, and seven-year old levels, those are the scores that are important.
Those are the tests that matter.
When you have a score above the national average in all those areas, then it doesn’t matter what tests are thrown at you later in life.
Because you’ll be able to easily pass them all.