How many stamps did Angie use?

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, October 30, 2018, 7:41 PM | comments: 0

Angie put 1 stamp on each of 7 envelopes. How many stamps did Angie use?

This is not a hard word problem. It's obviously 7 stamps... to most of us.

Simon knows it's 7 stamps, too. But imagine that the answer is so obvious that you're convinced it isn't right, that there's some kind of trick in play here. You're so convinced that you're going to get it wrong and that you're being tricked that you can't even move on. That's where Simon sometimes goes, and I remember having exactly these same conversations in my head. I mean, it's multiple choice, which in some ways makes it worse. Why would they give so many options for something so obvious?

The testing system mandated from on high to local school districts is so ridiculously broken. The teachers know it, probably anyone who engages with kids who have special needs knows it. The effort placed on successfully taking the tests should be a pretty good indication of how ridiculous it is. You could logically conclude that you are somewhat evaluating the child's ability to perform academic tasks, but it seems mostly like you're evaluating their ability to take a test.

I'm actually one who might want to argue that standardized tests are good. After all, the year I took the ACT (generally accepted as much as the SAT, especially in Ohio at the time), I scored in the top 2% of all kids nationwide, while getting a pretty mediocre GPA, even with weighted "honors class" grades. To me that says the way we evaluate kids academic development was broken then, and it's worse now. This is particularly true in the grade school years. We've seen Simon get ahead and behind in the same year on different skills. I've seen research suggest that kids don't really level out to more consistent standards until at least 10th grade.

I see how he gets stressed, and it stresses me out. I'm worried about him.

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