High Stakes Tests Destroy Students’ Self-Esteem in Hours – Special Ed Teacher says “Heartbreaking”.


Dear Bill and Melinda,

I have taught SPED for 36 years. I’ve seen lots of changes — most for the better — but having to give these students the test was heartbreaking.

I spend months building up their self-esteem to have it destroyed in hours.

What’s worse is that it does not give me any data that I can use. This data is not used in any way statistically because its not valid.

So someone please tell me why we abuse our special needs children in this way.

Carla Sartin
Special Ed Teacher


About Highlighting Members' Needs

We are running for the following Renton Education Association positions because we believe in the following planks: Becca Ritchie, Candidate for REA President, Nelsen Middle School, Computer Tech Susan DuFresne, Candidate for Primary Executive Board, Maplewood Heights Elementary, Integrated Kindergarten ✅  Demanding a healthy work-load/life balance. ✅  Bargaining competitive professional compensation. ✅  Challenging the status quo test culture with: Less is more! ✅  Emphasizing our professional expertise. ✅  Prioritizing equity and access for all. ✅  Utilizing 2-way 21st century communication tools. ✅  Acting in solidarity with all unions. ✅  Supporting ALL members. ✅   Implementing developmentally appropriate K-3 curriculum/assessment.
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2 Responses to High Stakes Tests Destroy Students’ Self-Esteem in Hours – Special Ed Teacher says “Heartbreaking”.

  1. Donna Austin says:

    I could not agree more! I too am a special ed teacher for high school and you know what I tell the kids? “We spend a lot of time discussing self-advocacy and how important it is that you understand your learning strengths and weaknesses. I have to offer this test to you, but you do not have to accept it. No one can make you take a test, you do not receive a grade for this test, and this test has no impact on you graduating from high school. With that information, I want you to decide if this test is an appropriate measurement of your abilities. It’s up to you. Whatever you decide, I will support you.” Most kids will try and some will stick with it the whole way. Others will ask, “I really don’t have to take this?” I assure them that there is no penalty for quietly closing their test booklet and choosing to read instead. My students find it impowering to “choose” to not take a test.

  2. Pat says:

    Sadly at this point in WA state the test has to be taken in order to graduate.

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