the boychick begins his week of standardised testing that is TCAP today. it`s funny i had recently arrived when he was doing it last year and the girls had their own batch of equivalency examinations.

in Trinidad at the end of elementary school system you take an examination that determines your choice of high school education based on how well you do. in my days it was called the Common Entrance exam and the higher your total score the better your chances of attending a prestigious parochial high school. these days it`s called the SEA and the intensity and price of failure is even greater. my elder daughter took it last year and went to the school of her choice and mine, my younger daughter took it about six weeks ago and we`re fairly confident that she`s heading to the same school. this ends their standardised testing on a national level for at least five years until it`s time for  their O` Level exams.

the boychick, on the other handm is stuck in this testing rut annually. last year i very nearly pitched a fit when his then teacher marked an essay he work diligently on poorly based on his grammar. according to her and last year`s TCAPs the boychick has problems with sentence structure. which seems kind of odd, see the volume of reading he does, the fact that his mother has a Masters in English and i`m a grammar nazi. in fact it`s not that he has a problem, but they have an issue with the fact that he can construct complex sentences at this grade level. the boychick does not write staccato sentences. they want him to write like this. he was punished for not writing like this.

the joys of standardised testing, if you don`t fit in the box, we`ll force fit you. what`s funny is that at some point someone asked the boychick if he found the TCAPs difficult and he replied, “it can`t be difficult they`re not supposed to leave anyone behind.” and that pretty much sums it up, in order to make sure no one gets left behind they`re hampering the rest of the children.

not all children progress at the same rate, granted, but when you the pace you set is for the slowest child the rest of the children who get what they`re supposed to be working on are going to get bored and distracted while they wait and that`s not going to help them learn anything either.

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