Monday, May 12, 2008

Fame and Fortune

Kids herded together waiting to take the SAT tests.

Well, actually I managed neither fame nor fortune but still. . . . I've been getting back to posting regularly and was wondering what had happened to my nearly non-existent fan club--I love all three of you--so I looked at the source of some of my recent "hits." As usual most are from Google searches which is after all, interesting. However, I discovered I have garnered a teeny-tiny bit of vicarious fame from an old post about a Tom Chapin song on No Child Left Behind. It turns out that Tom Chapin has a web site and has linked to my 2007 post (which linked his song) on it. I guess this is kind of like returning a compliment. Thank you Tom. I honestly do think your song is great.
My attention has turned again to the issue of school testing lately as my older son it suffering from an excess of tests. As a junior in high school and a serious student, he has more tests than most. In the past 6 weeks, and I'm sure I am missing a few, he has taken the SAT subject tests (calculus, physics and U.S. history), the ACT's, and 2 AP tests (with a third today in AP Physics). He has his SAT scheduled for early June. This is not to mention his high school final exams and so forth.
The poor kid frequently has the deer-in-the-headlights look and we have had to rigorously encourage him to "chill" on numerous occasions. We also spoil him with lots of good food. I don't know who is looking more forward to his summer vacation, his parents or him. I am not "getting" this high stakes testing. How many times does a kid have to prove how smart he is in any 12 month period? Is it really helping the colleges pick the best students or just earning money for the College Board? I can tell you that my son believes the latter. I tend to agree with him. As yet another aside(I seem to specialize in asides) I am nonetheless a proud mom who can boast that his ACT score was off the charts.


Sue said...

My oldest son is also a junior who is serious about his studies, although it seems your son is ahead of him. Mine isn't taking any AP courses until next year.

What does your son hope to major in, for college? I'm surprised he's taking the SAT's and the ACT's. I thought you took one or the other?

It does seem a lot of testing. You must be very proud of him!

sarala said...

Sue, I think it depends on the high school and region. My son's college counselor must believe that he needs both ACT and SAT. We're in the midwest and my uninformed understanding is that the ACT is more popular here.
My son is likely to major in math or science but doesn't really know what he wants yet. I encourage him to keep his mind open.

Jud said...

School seems more of a grind than ever, and hopefully the testing won't crush his love of learning.

Mike said...

Sarala, I can assure you that tests like the SAT and ACT really do help colleges make decisions about students, especially when they get a huge number of applicants from students from high schools all across the country. Without an objective data point, there's simply no way to evaluate the merits of an "A" at one school vs. another.