Take, take, take your test . . .

Kids are learning a test-prep version of Row, Row, Row Your Boat, writes Patti Hartigan, who got the lyrics from Ed Miller of the Alliance For Childhood.

Take, take, take your test
Follow all the rules
Go to bed and get some rest
Eat some good brain food.

Keep, keep, keep your desk
A neat and tidy spot
Wear smart clothes so you don’t feel
Too cold or too hot.

Bub, bub, bubble in
Answers carefully
Do the easy problems first
And hard ones finally.

It goes on.

Allegedly, a kindergartener told her after-school teacher the class was supposed to memorize the song. I have my doubts since No Child Left Behind requires testing third graders; some states test second graders but none that I know of require standardized tests  in first grade much less in kindergarten.  This could be a hoax, but it’s probably a real song written for test-age elementary students.

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  1. Georgia requires standardized testing in first grade. DeKalb County gives both ITBS and CoGAT to first graders in the fall, and the CRCT (state NCLB test) to first graders in the spring.

  2. I’m also in Georgia and I know that first graders in my county (Cobb) tested over the course of three days this spring. One of the moms I talked to (we homeschool so this isn’t familiar to me) said they will test every year, as practice for the NCLB-required tests.

  3. Homeschooling Granny says:

    To those of you who teach grades 1-3, how do the children react to these tests? I recall someone saying that testing little children was rather like pulling up a plant to see how the roots were growing. Is that an apt description or too extreme?

  4. Even though Kindergarten is still not mandatory in Texas, the Kindergardeners take two standardized tests – Naglieri (which I despise) and Stanford (which I just dislike). Our district uses them for placement in the GT program (the next opportunity for kids to be placed in GT is not until the end of 2nd grade).

  5. Margo/Mom says:

    I don’t know that the issue is whether or not “tests” are used on kids that young, but the appropriateness of assessments and the uses to which they are put. “Pre-testing” should be a part of any meaningful instruction. This does not necessarily mean bubbling in multiple choice sections. Kindergarten round-up has long included such things as height and weight measurements, sight testing, as well as simple indicators such as reciting one’s address and phone number, or the alphabet or counting.

    I don’t mean to in any way deny some of the ugliness and stupidity attached to formalized testing (kindergarten placement into “gifted” programs, or to “practice” for the exams that will come later). But, sometimes I think that there is almost deliberate misapplication of both the term and the uses of testing. I do believe that there are those in teaching and education who earnestly desire a retreat from measures and accountability who are bent on sabotaging even the most helpful uses by trying to make them look stupid. I suppose that somewhere there could be teachers and administrators silly enough to teach a song like that in kindergarten and to believe that it helps them to compete somehow. Doesn’t seem like something we should be proud of, however.