RTW: Standardized tests

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Julia* went to take the ACT yesterday. She had prepared using an online prep website, gone over the what-to-bring-to-the-test page, skipped staying out with friends and gone to bed early, gotten up for breakfast, prayer, and scriptures with me and Lane, and headed out on time. We were proud of her for her careful preparation.

I seem to feel two things when sending off a child to take a standardized test:

1. I’ve spent my life preparing you for moments like this.

2. It’s only one kind of a test. Do your best, and then let it go.

In reflecting with Julia last night about the test, I expounded a little more that second thought. Tests are created to measure certain things, such as specific knowledge or skills. College entrance exams and other standardized tests do not in any way fully represent who we are, what our potential is, or what are gifts are. And to compare one person’s intelligence or potential intellectual ability against another simply by a test score is folly! You are a child of God, and you have immeasurable intellectual potential!

The best and most important standardized test that I know of is daily life. I hope my children have or will learn this from me: At the end of the day, who are you? Were you kind, honest, true, friendly, helpful, virtuous, clean, obedient, repentant? Did you make a the world a better place for someone else in some small way? Did you do the best you could in the circumstances you faced? Did you learn from your experiences and opportunities? Did you work hard? Are you a little tiny bit better today than you were yesterday?

I didn’t do as well on my ACT or SAT as I wanted to back in the day. Of course, I wanted to get a perfect score! Nope, I didn’t. Not even close! If I had, what would it say? That I had been very well prepared. That I had gained the knowledge and skills needed to perform well on that test. And I hadn’t. That’s ok. I had gained some great life experience and knowledge that helped me to that point. Building on that, I’ve continued to gain so much by way of knowledge and skills since then. Life goes on! College and life since college–particularly motherhood!!!–has given me an education that has been rich and intellectually, physically, emotionally and spiritually stimulating. I am learning in every way.

So hats off to all of our school-aged children who have to take standardized tests! It’s not much fun, it’s a rite of passage, and it’s not the end of the world. Way to go in taking the tests and going forward with life!

Happy Testing,

Liz 🙂

*The picture of Julia above is actually from a flight, but since I can’t run in and take a photo of my children taking a test, this one looked a little close, especially with Nate in the background looking like he might be taking a test…LOL.



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