It’s that time of year again.  Teachers frantically looking online as the state opens the flood gate and releases test scores.  I sat down to write my blog on this subject, and low-and-behold, a past post I wrote four years ago popped up on my feed.  Guess it is a sign to just repost:

I find it fascinating and disturbing how much emphasis we place on paper/pencil evaluations in the school system when the overwhelming majority of job-related assessments are performance-based.  This works quite well for me now, but getting to this point was a challenge.

The problem? I don’t test well when it comes to traditional assessments, and as a result, did very poorly in school.  My SAT and ACT scores were frightening and I came very close to not getting my graduate degree due to my GRE score, which I believe was in the bottom 5% of the country.  I still have post-traumatic stress thinking about having to read a passage and answer isolated questions. 

Of course, the aspects of school in which I thrived (and tested well) were all novel and differentiated – speeches, projects, performances.  Luckily, these experiences prepared me well for my adult career.  I feel very fortunate I did not let traditional school assessments define my potential.  I can’t help but wonder how many students really struggle through school only to discover they are just fine when they get out into the work force.

There is a huge focus on differentiating instruction in the school system, which I applaud.  [In fact, I try to model the concept in every staff development session I facilitate.] However, until we differentiate the manner in which we test our students, we will continue to miss the mark in helping them reach their true potential.