Regarding Assemblyman Dave Rible's March 3 column, "We're overtesting our already stressed-out children":
I agree there is too much testing in schools and too much pressure on students. But while Rible's well-meaning proposal would limit testing in New Jersey public schools, he missed the point.
His proposed legislation approves of state and federally mandated tests - such as the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge and the The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers - that are the very source of student stress. Apparently, he would disallow any classroom preparation for those tests, including periodic benchmark testing. He fails to connect the dots between the students stress and the very tests he wants to continue.
These benchmark and prep tests are necessary so that student skill levels and deficiencies can be assessed and teachers can tailor lessons to remedy the deficiencies.
Eliminate or curtail the mandated tests, and the need for all the benchmark tests and the test prep goes away, reducing student stress levels.
Results of these tests may impact funding for a district or the state, and may determine if a student is admitted to a tech school or a private high school. They are also used to determine placement in honors classes. Of course, the results can impact a teacher's evaluation as well.
To understand the arguments against these government-mandated tests, read author Diane Ravitch or look into organizations such as Parents Across America or Opt-Out.
Until you eliminate government's obsession with these high-stakes tests, school districts must prepare for them and our children will continue to exhibit undue symptoms of stress.