Revisiting TAKS

I told you about Zach’s TAKS scores already.  We all are beaming with pride, and Zach’s anxiety level has dropped tremendously.  The kid did GREAT!!  I’m a proud mama, to be sure.

But I have some bigger, more complicated thoughts on his high scores — his 89 and his 92.  Did you know 92 is COMMENDED??!!  Yep, Zach got commended on one of the tests.  Anyway, at the risk of you thinking I’m never satisfied, I will share my frustrating thoughts on Zach’s TAKS experience.

Remember that Zippy was very anxious all year long that he would fail the test and thus fail 3rd grade.  Very anxious.

And Zach failed most of the practice TAKS tests throughout the year.  Some of the practice tests, he scored in the 30s and 50s.  More recent practice tests, he made in the 60s.  These practice tests served to reinforce that he was going to fail.  The practice tests convinced him more and more that he couldn’t pass the TAKS test.

With each and every practice test, Zach’s anxieties grew.  He was miserable.  We increased meds to help him cope.  He cried and had panic attacks.  With each and every practice test.

He was in math tutoring several times a week because of his test scores.  He was in a special reading program three times a week because of his test scores.

And then.  And then he receives word that he not only passed both tests, but he passed with flying colors.  Wow.

The funny thing is, he really never mentioned his scores or the fact that he got commended on one of them.  Never mentioned them.  My child is a very excitable, screaming and jumping with glee about lots of things, but he never even mentions his TAKS successes.

I haven’t said much about it either.

Why not?  Well, I’m not exactly sure what happened.  I don’t really understand it all.

The possibilities:

–On the days of the tests, it all finally clicked for Zachary to the point that he was able to complete the test quickly (he was the 2nd one done in his class!) and accurately, for once acing this standardized test.

–Or God worked a miracle just like we asked Him to.  I prayed many days before the tests and on the day of the tests that God would work a miracle in Zach’s body and help him pass.  Maybe God did that.  Passing two tests is an EASY thing for God, you know.

— Or the school’s practice tests were WAY harder than the actual TAKS tests.  This is a pretty feasible option to me, too.  I have heard that the practice tests are purposely harder than the real thing.  I don’t know if that’s true or not.  If it is true, then I will have some words for the administration next year.  Ruining my kid’s life and well-being for an entire year by giving him false-difficult tests that he fails is not okay!  It is not okay. They have NO IDEA what it did to my son.  And to my family.

Do you understand my mixed feelings about Zach’s success?  Please know that I am thrilled that he passed!  I am so proud of him!  I am SO PROUD of him!  But I’m frustrated at the possibility that our year of anxiety trauma was imposed on us by false-difficult tests.  And I’m not happy.

Did I tell you that I heard of several kids having sleepless nights and upset tummies before TAKS?  Did I tell you about Zach’s best friend who chewed on the ends of his fingers until they bled?  Zach was certainly not the only one. . .

Those are my thoughts as I revisit TAKS.  I’ll try not to visit it again for a while.


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