Time Out for Test Prep… at Age 4?!?!

Graphic by Chris @ Daddy Doctrines

I gave Malachy a random spelling test last week, just to see how he would do. I used the Livescribe Smartpen, which is quite the nifty geek gadget, which I demoed in a previous post. After the assessment, we started going over all the words. When we came to a word that he misspelled (were should have been where), I told him that he missed just one letter. He immediately wanted to correct it, but I told him it was okay. He started getting misty-eyed. He said he didn’t want to tell Mommy. I told him he did an awesome job, and that it’s okay to make mistakes and that we all make mistakes. I told him we were so proud of him and that we all learn and make mistakes. He calmed down. He was all good as we went over the rest of the words. When we went over another misspelled word, he said, “It’s okay. See?” WHEW! πŸ˜‰

The thing is I could easily turn into grill and drill mode, and test him everyday. (As a teacher, this is why standardized testing just maddens me.) He’d get better and better at it, and be “prepared” for what was coming. Also, the “gifted” test for Kindergarten is coming up this year for Malachy.

Two parties arise within me with two voices. One is telling me (okay, yelling), “DON’T DO IT! YOU’LL BURN HIM AND YOURSELF OUT!” The other one says (just as loudly), “WELL, YOU CAN’T JUST SIT THERE AND DO NOTHING, while others are spending hundreds if not thousands on test prepping their kids!” (They say it might even start at age 3 next year! INSANITY!) Yes, I could easily ask people who have proctored these “gifted” tests for insider information, but no way, that’s cheating and just not the way I would want Malachy to “earn” a seat, if he does make it into one. “AI YA!” I say to both parties. What happened to the days of just going to your zoned school, where everyone had a fair share of a quality education?

So, I’ve decided to just give him a taste every now and then (MODERATION), with what materials are available for all parents in NYC, just so he knows what to expect when he does take these tests. The other day we went through that OLSAT (Otis-Lennon School Ability Test) Practice Test. I told him that this was coming sometime in the future, and to just do his best. As we went over it, I was thinking how crazy it must be for those parents who don’t use these materials out there or aren’t aware of them, and how hard it must be for those children who just take these tests cold turkey. It’s just not right… πŸ™

Below are links to other fellow blogging dads. Check them out! πŸ˜‰

6 thoughts on “Time Out for Test Prep… at Age 4?!?!”

  1. Fellow teacher here. My daughter starts K next week. She will be attending regular K (Well extended by my wife an I) and test for 1st grade gifted.

    Having seen burnt out kids by FIFTH GRADE it is a concern for me as well.

    Thanks for stopping by the hop!!

    Brian (Chalkboard Dad)

  2. I don’t understand the need for prepping. We went through the same thing three years ago with my daughter (and this year again for her brother) and all we did was a bit of those Brain Quest things and the sample test that was provided by the DOE. Why would anybody do more than that? If G&T is seen as an alternative to the neighborhood school (which may be a bad school) I may understand but even then there are more options out there. Many charter schools, for example, are really good. Private schools give out tuition assistance to some lucky families. Etc. etc.

    The unfortunate thing is that the DOE turned the G&T admission process into a competition since the kids are places in order of their scores and most families really want to get placed into one of the few popular schools only.

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