Had a Board of Ed subcommittee meeting today, one of those routine ones that usually precedes the full Board meeting by a week or so. One of the things on our agenda was the standardized test scores our district recently received. Kids took the test last May, so the delay in getting results back seems pretty damned ridiculous, but it is what it is. Bureaucracy at its finest. Anyway, we went through the district and state data as a committee and were relieved to find that our kids' scores matched or exceeded the state average pretty much across the board, and in some cases exceeded it by a lot. Good news. Some areas that definitely need work, but still: one of the nice things about this test is that it highlights the kids' educational gaps very clearly for curriculum reworking and backfilling.
We received the overall district scores a month or so ago, but the kids' individual forms only early this week. They are being mailed home in a day or two, but happened to be sitting in a cardboard box on the principal's desk (ten feet from the table at which our meeting was being held) while we were discussing the stats. I had a question about the format of the report going home to parents at one point, and the principal got up from the table, walked over to the box and handed me a piece of paper densely covered with writing after digging around for a few seconds. When my eyes focused, I realized that I was looking at Thing Two's Language Arts score sheet AND THAT HE SCORED CLOSE TO THE NORMAL RANGE HOLY CRAP ON A CRACKER. Not quite at the expected level for the grade but pretty damned close. Just below the cutoff score. My kid with the massively crossed language wires, on his first standardized test ever. I was fully expecting him to tank the damned thing. Our principal used to be the Special Ed director and knows him well, and she just laughed when I asked her if a BOE member had ever tap-danced for joy in her office before! Then she dug around a little more in the box and pulled out his math test results, which showed that he scored solidly into the "passing" range, not as much of a surprise but still pretty cool considering that these math tests are heavy on the word problems. As the icing on the cake, she then found Thing One's results for me: he blew the doors off both tests, scoring in the highest category for both.
I understand some of the uproar over standardized testing, but it's pretty much a fact of life. Not the be all and end all by any means, but there has to be some sort of cross-district and -state yardstick and if it wasn't this test it would be another one. I told the boys back in May to just relax and do their best but not to worry too much about it, and I meant it, but GEEZ it feels good to have Thing Two within spitting distance of his grade level peers finally and at last! Poor kid has been busting his tailfeathers with two different speech therapists and with extra reading comprehension exercises and whatnot for years now, and when I got home I told him that he should be proud of himself because all his hard work and determination are paying off. He beamed.