The Tests Our Kids Really Need


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In our district, spring time doesn’t mean warm weather, flowers blooming and the excitement that builds as we get closer to summer (and summer break). It means it’s time for that CCRAP again.

CCRAP is unrealistic. We all know that, and yet it continues on. It tears precious time out of the classroom where kids could actually be learning (and maybe even enjoying) something (anything!) and shoves them in front of computers where they answer pointless questions in order to get scores that show how good the school district is (or isn’t) and how ready they are for college and careers. (Really??? It’s ridiculous in my book for a high school student, but for middle school and/or elementary???)

But what do I know…I’m just a parent? A parent who went to school and graduated. (Not top of the class, but not bottom either.) A parent who went to college and graduated. (Not top of the class, but not bottom either.) A parent who works outside of the home to pay for everything that you have pay for in life (or tries to). A parent who is trying to raise a well-rounded and well-mannered kid. So what the heck do I know about assessing readiness for college and careers? (Remember, you can’t spell “assess” or “assessment” without “ass”…which I think pretty much sums it all up.)

You want to know (I refuse to use the word assess…but there I just did, so who’s the a** now???) if a child/young adult is ready for college and/or career? Here are some tests that would give a much more realistic view:

  • Morning Test: This test gets more complex as the child gets older. Starts out with just learning how to set an alarm clock. Processes to more complexity as it includes setting the alarm, getting out of bed when the alarm goes off within 20 minutes, picking out appropriate clothes, getting dressed and making/eating breakfast. All would have to be within a prescribed time frame.
  • Transportation Test: Does the student know how to use public transportation to get from point A to point B? Can he/she read and understand a bus/train/boat schedule? Does student know how to make exact change for the driver? For the upper high school level, there would be a driving test. Final would include driving or taking public transportation to airport and going through TSA to appropriate flight gate.
  • Interview Test: (Grade 8 and up). Student is interviewed as if applying for college or job. Written thank you test follows.
  • Balanced Meal Test: Starting in grade 2, the student is asked to make a sandwich and pour a glass of water. Student advances through various stages, culminating in making a complete meal (using utensils and stove) that is nutritionally sound.
  • Laundry Test: Elementary level is simple folding. High school level includes multiple loads to wash and dry, ironing, folding, putting away and making a bed.
  • Finance Test: Elementary level is balancing a checkbook. Middle school includes calculating tips and figuring out sales tax. High school level final is correctly filling out a tax form and successfully mailing it to the IRS (requires going to the Post Office and figuring out postal costs.)

There are other examples that I could come up with that would not only show preparedness for college and/or career but also life. And most of the above examples require math and literacy skills that apply to daily life. (Real life! What a concept!) Wouldn’t that be better, not only for our children, but for our society as a whole?

Now, I know this is never going to happen, but doesn’t it make more sense? Letting teachers TEACH skills that apply to life. Letting teachers do what they do best! (That would be teach and not proctor endless tests.) Students would benefit by learning what they truly need to know for not only college and career but for life. Parents would benefit! (Can you imagine prepping a kid for test by having them cook a meal? Do the family laundry? BLISS!) Society would benefit!

It’s a pipe dream…to say good bye to CCRAP and hello to real life skills…but it’s MY pipe dream and I’m going to keep dreaming it.

Beth Shorten is a life-long resident of Verona. For five years, she has been chronicling life here on her personal site, Bfth’s Boring Blog.

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Beth Shorten
Beth Shorten
Beth Shorten is a life-long resident of Verona from a long line of life-long Verona residents. She chronicles life here on her personal site, Bfth’s Boring Blog. 


  1. This is so well written – and so true!
    Society would be so much better for it.
    Love the acronym!


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