“Standard Means Nothing”
National Poetry Writing Month 2018 Poem #7
I understand the thought behind standardized test.
I really do. It’s just completely wrong.
First of all, they only evaluated a handful
Of standards that the students are required
To learn within the course of the year.
It’s not a fair sampling of what they can do.
Also, all they have from year-to-year
Is a number representing how well or poorly
They did on the previous year’s test.
No one really understands their progress
Quite like me, since I’m their educator that
Works them diligently every single day.
The test takers don’t evaluate their
Other communication skills–listening and speaking.
I took these quiet, reserved twelve year olds
And molded them into talkative teens
Who are so in-tune with their thoughts
That they have a hard time containing their words.
Although it can be a struggle at times
To get them to settle down for instruction,
I’m immensely proud that they’re now
Comfortable speaking their minds.
In addition, we’ve worked on so many other
Reading and writing skills that aren’t
Assessed on the standardized tests.
And if the focus of reading it solely
On retaining information and comprehension,
Then we are failing our students.
At their age, they need to be taught the
Beauty and majesty of the written word.
If they don’t like it, they’re never going to
Want to read–no matter how many times
You tell them they need to learn it.