As we begin our spring testing season in Texas, I would like to share a video that our principal, Dr. Cody Miller, posted on our school’s Facebook page this weekend. At our elementary school, and across our state, students in 4th and 5th grades and many other grade levels will be taking STAAR tests this week. Educational decisions will be made based on the results of these tests. Sometimes, in our zeal to prepare our students for these assessments, we inadvertently send the message that we value high academic performance above all else. In Dr. Miller’s video, he reassures our students that educators and families are aware that standardized test scores only communicate a small fraction of the abilities of each person. We honor kindness, creativity, leadership, and so many other strengths our students exhibit each day. Their art work, music, athletic feats, selflessness, collaborations, and innovations cannot be condensed into numbers or plotted on graphs.
Assuming we know a child based on a test score, or even a series of scores, would be like judging the health of our planet by measuring the height of a blade of grass. Although these measurements give us some information, they definitely do not sum up the whole. This may seem obvious to most adults, but some of our students may need the comfort of this reminder.