Skrip - tyur' - i - ent: adj. Possessing the violent desire to write.


#271 In which our hero discusses the manner in which the man decides if his oldest child is fit for school or not.

Several weeks ago my 5-year-old, Lily, was evaluated for acceptance into Kindergarten. We were briefed on this evaluation at the mandatory parents' meeting (along with dress code, religious requirements--it's a Catholic school, after all--etc.). We were to drop off our kids at the scheduled time, then leave. They would be tested in 10 areas.

A brief aside about language.

At the meeting, the principal told us several times not to refer to this evaluation as a "test" because he didn't want our children to be apprehensive about it. He said to just tell our kids that they would be playing some "games." Again, he didn't want a bunch of 5-year-olds freaking out about a "test." Now, what kind of anal, too-tightly-wound child is experiencing test anxiety at five? I know my kid has never been tested for anything so far, and even if she had, I'm pretty sure she wouldn't care if she passed or not.

It just strikes me as a self-fulfilling prophesy when you start talking like this. "Don't call it a test, they're freak out if they think they're being 'tested'!" Instead of avoiding "scary" words like test, why not just teach your kid to deal? "Look, Jimmy, it's a test, and you might do well on it or not. But even if you blow it, it's not a huge deal. You'll face LOTS of tests in your life."


The kids would be evaluated in 10 areas, the results being grouped into three categories: Strength, Average and Need. If you kid shows a "need" in four or more areas, you're supposed to sit down with the kindergarten teachers and principal and devise a plan. I kinda think this means that if your kid is struggling in four or more areas, you might not be invited to attend this particular school.

So, Lily has her test and it's no big deal. She says she had fun for the most part, but some of the games were boring.

Couple of weeks later, we get the official letter from the school. It doesn't say she "passed" because, presumably, that would put undo pressure on the administrators or some such shit. But it is a "welcome to" letter, so my kid is in!

Here are the categories Lily was tested in, and the results (I've included some of the definitions that were included with the letter because, frankly, if I hadn't read some of them I wouldn't know what my kid was tested for):

Visual Motor Integration ("the ability to coordinate vision with motor movements")
Result = STRENGTH!

Visual discrimination ("ability to recognize differences and similarities among things that we see")
Result = STRENGTH!

Auditory Memory ("refers to how well one listen and is then able to repeat what he has heard")
Yeah, that should be "how well one listenS" and also, nice sexism, school board!
Result = Average

Draw-A-Person ("used to help assess visual-motor ability along with visual-memory")
Result = STRENGTH!

Test of Auditory Analysis Skills ("refers to hearing sounds and auditoraly discriminating individual sounds within words")
I think when I was a kid this was called "listening."
Result = STRENGTH!

Peabody Picture Vocabulary ("refers to one's understanding of words that are heard")
Why does this one get a brand name? Who's this Peabody, anyway?
Result = STRENGTH!

Articulation ("ability to express thoughts and ideas.")
Result = Average
"Average"? Holy crap... anyone who spends more than a couple minutes with my daughter knows she has NO trouble expressing her thoughts. In fact, after a while, you might wish she'd STOP expressing her crazy, creative, endless thoughts.

Fine Motor ("ability to plan and perform movement using small muscles of the hands and/or fingers)
Result = Average
Again, maybe I'm just the doting father, but you wouldn't believe the detailed little clay creations this kid has made.

Basic Concepts ("major ideas, generalized from particular instances or experiences")
Result = Average
I'm not even sure what this category is telling me. Additional examples make it seem to relate to colors, letters, numbers, shapes and the like. And if that's the case, my kid has it down. She knows all of her colors, shapes, numbers and the like.

And that's the entire test. I'm clearly biased, but I suspect that Lily just got bored of all the questions and started to slack off. I've seen this before.

But, we'll see how she does in Kindergarten. I'm sure she'll do great. As long as no-one mentions the word "test."




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