In March of 2011, the mother of a straight-A Hartford student called up the principal to say that her daughter, Caridad¹, “will not be taking the test.”
The test, in this case, happened to be the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT), which is administered to all students in grades 3-8, every year. About one week is dedicated to the actual test (seven hours in all), though the level of preparation varies from school-to-school, with some assigning test prep homework all year round. Caridad, who was in the seventh grade when she opted out, attends one of the schools that puts less emphasis than others on the standardized state tests.
While this student was not the first in the nation or even the state to exercise her right to not take an exam, she may be the first in her school. When her mother contacted the principal at the school, the conversation that followed was one of “understanding,” but the administrator said that she would need to check out the legality of this action.
Initially, the Connecticut State Department of Education asked Caridad’s mother why she would not want her daughter to take the test.Read the rest here.
When this topic is raised, the assumption made by some is that the child is lazy or a “bad student,” or, if viewed in a more sympathetic way, prone to test anxiety.
In this case, the Hartford student has none of those qualities. Caridad enjoys all of her subjects at school, naming Math and English as her favorites. When asked, she told me that her school does fun things, like reading plays aloud and working with pulleys in lab projects.
“I actually like to be tested,” she told me.
But Caridad opted out of the CMT last Spring and says she does not think she will take them in 2012 either.
What triggered this family’s choice was when Caridad’s mother read about the bonuses doled out to teachers and administrators; these were tied directly to increased standardized test scores.