Yesterday all Ohio third grade students were administered the fall reading Ohio Achievement Assessment. You have certainly heard about Ohio’s third grade reading guarantee and, in it’s simplest form, by the end of third grade a student needs to have passed the Ohio Achievement Assessment in order to progress to fourth grade in all areas. Third grade students take the test in October and again in late April. Their highest score of the two counts as their score.
I have a third grader. Thus, as all parents do, we struggled to create the right amount of tension around the test. My third grader tends to worry so we didn’t want to make a big deal about the test. On the other hand, it’s hard for an 8 year old to understand the incredibly high stakes nature of the test, and therefore, we wanted to make sure that she took her time, checked her answers, answered the written questions completely, etc… Plus, we needed to prepare her for the fact that at age 8 she would need to sit and focus for two and a half hours and need to be resilient through the 38-40 pages of test. There’s really no easy way to strike this balance.
In our house we attempted to balance this by being totally positive Monday night. “This test will be easy for you!” “Reading is your best subject, have fun showing them how crazy smart you are” etc… We really wanted her to go to sleep the night before with no worries. In the morning our tact changed. Both my wife and I had talks with her about reading carefully, checking her work, taking her time, etc… All of the important test taking skills that an 8 year old is not yet familiar with. When I left for work I thought she understood. But, on the way to school she was reminded a second time. My wife and I felt pretty good about our expert parenting…..
I’ve learned that you should never feel too good about your expert parenting. Really, it never works out. The assessment was given at the beginning of the school day while students are fresh. At 11:00 A.M. my daughter called home. (3 hours after school started and a half hour after the OAA was complete) The conversation went a bit like this, “mom, I forgot my glasses today. Don’t worry I didn’t need them on the OAA, but I need them now so I can see.” Really? Seriously? My kid who is taking this super important, she may get retained if she doesn’t pass by law test, doesn’t wear her glasses to the test so she can see the words? And, worse, somehow in the midst of all of our serious test taking talk we don’t bother to look at her face and see that the kid who can’t see isn’t wearing her glasses? And, the teacher’s evaluation is going to be affected by student test scores, and my kid, of all kids, doesn’t have her glasses on!
Yep. No glasses for Reading portion of the OAA. I’d like to publicly apologize to my daughter’s teacher, her school, our district Language Arts Coordinator Jamie Lusher, our Director of Academic Achievement, Jennifer Wene and to Dr. Tucker our Superintendent. We intend to make sure she actually has her glasses on for the Spring tests. (I did say intend, no promises. We’ll be lucky if we can even find the glasses come Spring!)