Standard Means Nothing

“Standard Means Nothing”

–Amy Engle


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.