Today was the writing portion of the test. None of these girls have ever had to “write to task.” For the 9-year-old girls it went fine. Both have excellent writing skills and the two writing topics given were ones that ‘worked’ for them. The first was about an environmental topic of their choice, something they’re both passionate about and experienced with, and the second was an open-ended fantasy story-starter that they enjoyed.
The poor 12-year-old, though, was given an essay topic that went something like this:
“Grade 7 is a time of changes and new responsibilities — lockers, class schedules, more homework and longer assignments. What advice would you give to a Grade 6 student about having a successful grade 7 experience?”
This 12-year-old girl in particular is not terribly imaginative, and struggles a bit with written expression. The topic above totally shut her down. She was so angry. “How can I write about that? It’s horrid!” Knowing that the tests are being marked by teachers affiliated with the SelfDesign program, we re-framed it a little for her. “Write advice to your littlest sister on creating a meaningful year of learning for herself when she’s 12.” That helped a bit, but she was already angry and started that session in a pretty rotten frame of mind. She was a good sport and did it anyway. But talk about cultural bias!
I’m glad there are only three sessions. I think the kids will get through to the end of tomorrow’s work without appreciable resistance. Another day would be a hard sell. They are free to refuse to do the test, and they know that. As homeschooling parents with children in a Distributed Learning program we cannot refuse on their behalfs, though we can ask that they be exempted if we have reasonable grounds to believe that the testing will be particularly traumatic for them. In the case of these kids, anxiety and trauma seemed unlikely, and none has chosen to refuse to do the testing.
Literacy down, numeracy awaits tomorrow.