Gene starts Eighth Grade WASL in two weeks. I am so glad that by the time Neil goes back to public school the whole testing mess may be resolved. I know that there will be some sort of test to replace WASL or at least to modify it from it's ridiculous current format. Neil will however, begin ITBS (The Iowa Test of Basic Skills) next week. He has awful pretest nerves, which many people have suggested might be relieved by the routine-ness of the annual WASL. I disagree... Even if it would make him less nervous, is that really enough reason for any kid to spend weeks completing testing that really does not result in tools to help address issues. Nor does it build self-esteem when many children simply can't pass all areas. Gene no longer anticipates passing each subject (many kids do pass all areas, but it's usually a handful per school) and how does it help when after five years of WASL Gene has learned that he more than likely will not pass. Repeatedly doing the test hasn't made Gene a better student and it hasn't taught him anything. (It's true that he doesn't seem nervous about testing.)
So, Neil will do ITBS through our home school group next week. His biggest fear is that he won't know what to do and he won't be able to ask questions. His reading has improved vastly in the last six months, but I think that a lot of his fears stem from sitting down to a stack of papers, and becoming overwhelmed by the amount of language... the actual amount of print in front of him.
My gut reaction is to keep him from this process altogether. However, I believe that because he will reenter public school at some point in the future, it would not make sense to leave him unprepared for any testing. And, I have to admit, that at 10 years of age he should be able to overcome his fears sufficiently gain some faith in himself. His biggest obstacle is his lack of belief that he is actually smart.
Let the testing begin.
I, on the other hand, get to hang out with Bay for two hours a day at the testing center. IN the car. (Great.) I can hardly wait.