I’ve decided thus far not to have a set day for my graduation.  I’m happy for everyone else that does but I personally can’t quite get into it.  I remember coming to the conclusion as a young child that I should never have a high school graduation because if I do end up having a college graduation, by then I will have run out of things to say for a commencement speech.

Furthermore, I don’t feel like a graduate as long as I have to prepare for the ACT (which is what I will be doing for the next three weeks).  The other day I accompanied Mom and my siblings on the grocery outing, and we managed to order my class ring while we were at it.  It will be gold valadium with a garnet and have an artist’s palette engraved on one side (to represent my artistic interest) and the Bible (along with a cross and crown) on the other.  The inscription engraved inside the band will be “2 Timothy 2:15”.

Rachel laughed about me technically being the only graduate in my “class” – unless you count other seniors from our homeschool group.  Well, it seems to me that the entire school charade is appearing more laughable the older I get.

For instance, the ACT is supposed to be an exam that tests your overall educational progress and determines your preparedness for college level work.  But as with most standardized time tests, the results still turn out to be somewhat irrelevant.  You must answer a certain number of questions in a certain amount of time (in the case of the math section, you are given 60 seconds per problem).  Ultimately, the test doesn’t test your knowledge so much as it tests your ability to process your knowledge quickly.  For those of us that are slow, thorough thinkers, we may well be just as educated as the super speed readers and mathematical geniuses, but not able to answer as quickly and thus not appear to be so.  I suppose that dilemma will always be a by-product of mass produced compulsory schooling.

While I am on the subject, I might as well dismiss all doubt of my deep seated bias against standardized tests.  My grudge against the sardonic multiple-choice pamphlets began at the tender age of 7 (or maybe it was 8).  We were living in West Point, New York when I was first confronted with such things at the necessity of the government homeschooling law.  Mom was able to give me the test at home because of my young age, but it was still, nevertheless, a timed test.  I wept bitterly while solving the math problems, convinced that I couldn’t possibly solve any of them in the allotted time.

I took my last (or so I thought) standardized test at age 11, which was for the 6th grade level.  Sure, I scored high on my tests (except for the “Dates and Holidays” section…never quite figured that one out…), but that didn’t matter to me.  In the whole course of the exam I couldn’t find a single interesting question – not even history questions (they don’t even have history on the ACT).  Instead, there were insulting questions such as, “Two politicians shake hands.  Does this mean: A.) They are good friends.  B.) They are enemies. C.) They are just being polite….”  The President’s dog could probably figure that one out after awhile.

The test never gave me an opportunity to demonstrate the reading or nature journals or science experiments or unit studies or Latin that I had studied.  Instead for reading comprehension I was expected to explain whether or not the little boy in an underwear commercial was embarassed or if the lady looking at the rose in an apartment building felt happy.  Such emotionally-oriented testing did bring me to a modest appreciation of math, oddly enough.  It was an objective, honest subject after all!  I wish it had brought me a talent for math as well.

After reflecting on my test experiences, it occurred to me that the panic associated with standardized tests is very similar to the panic felt when walking into a doctor’s office or dentist’s office.  It is a fear of being evaluated and declared “unfit” by some stranger’s standard of excellence.  In light of Eternity, it doesn’t really matter.  But being humans of finite rationality it is difficult to remember that sometimes.

I probably won’t be online very often in the next few weeks, so I’ll go ahead and mention that The Fair Hills Farm Weblog has opened.  Be sure to take a look at the Photo Album – Abigail’s photography is great!

May YAHWEH Bless,

~Amanda~

Comments

Monday, May 19, 2008 – Untitled Comment

Posted by Eyebright
Wow! What a really great post! Actually, my sister just left a few minutes ago to go and take her test. She is always upset.

I can’t say that I ever remember such stupid questions on my tests. Maybe you have different tests over on the East Coast. Or, maybe, I was always just so emotionally upset by doing the tests that when I came to the politicians question, I thought, “Yes, an easy one!”

In Idaho, homeschoolers don’t have to take tests at all. Homeschoolers have a lot of freedom there. My Mom was thrilled about this when we moved there. My sister was devastated when we had to move back to Oregon.

Anyway’s good post. By the way, why don’t they ever ask questions about the really important stuff? Like, Baking, cleaning, or caring for children? Percentage wise, how many people are actually going to need to know algebra for their day to day lives? When I need help with my algebra, and I take it to my dad, he says, “Do you know when the last time I did this was? In highschool!”

Okay, sorry for the rant. Math has never been my strong point.

Have a very bright, very cheerful day!
Eyebright
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Monday, May 19, 2008 – Untitled Comment

Posted by Jay
Yes, standardized, multiple choice tests only work well for people who have quick fact recall, and they don’t accurately gauge an individual’s learning as accurate as one might wish. But I doubt we’ll see any major change on that front for quite some time.

But on to your new Weblog…
I really like the template you chose for it, it’s very clean, and tidy, and as a minimalist, I appreciate clutter-free sites when I see them. Because it’s all to easy to overload a site, or just about anything for that matter.

Take Care!
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Tuesday, May 20, 2008 – HI!

Posted by OldFashionPonderings
Good for you. I am glad you got a ring tho! =)
When I graduate in 2 years the only thing I just have to have is a hot pink robe! Since I have no school colors in homeschool I’m sure pink will be fun! I don’t care about the cermony but a PINK ROBE AND CAP WOULD BE FUNNY~!

Wishing you a good year

~Lexi