When I talk with friends and neighbors in education outside of Fredericksburg Academy at this time of year, the conversation inevitably turns to the standardized testing that will soon be taking place in local schools. Their libraries and music rooms will close for classes to accommodate the testing process. Students will face the pressure of recalling content that was learned only to maximize their test score. Teachers will anxiously await the results that tacitly demonstrate how well they taught their students. These conversations sadden me because collaboration, creativity, and resourcefulness are an integral part of assessments and are lost when valuable time and resources (not to mention teacher talent!) are focused on standardized testing.It is in these instances that I revel in FA's independence and our focus of always putting the student first in all that we do. Rather than choosing answers to multiple-choice questions, students share what they have learned with peers, parents, and our community in various ways across all divisions, incorporating creativity, technology, self-confidence, and communication skills critical to future success in school and life. Through our student-centered, integrated program, we value content and skill development and recognize that the best way to quantify authentic learning is when they are measured together.
Consider the pros of standardized testing in this article and ask yourself if they are valuable enough to outweigh the cons. At our private school in Fredericksburg, VA, teachers are in constant communication with students and parents, giving real feedback, so that no one has to wait for a test score or a report card to know how they are performing.
If you're a parent of a child who will essentially be losing a month of authentic learning, I want you to know there is an alternative. Throughout all three divisions, our focus is on balancing a meaningful, challenging program with a nurturing, age-appropriate learning environment. I have no doubt that if you visit our campus, you will see the difference an independent education at Fredericksburg Academy can have for your child.