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Mom Shares That Her Third-Grade Son Was In Tears After Reading His Teacher's Note About Test Scores

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little boy smiling while taking notes in class

A mother shared her son's emotional reaction after reading an encouraging note written by his elementary school teacher.

In an Instagram post, Abby LaBolle revealed that her son, Rylan, who is in the third grade, had gotten a note from his teacher a week before he and the rest of his class were to sit down and take the ISTEP and IREAD, two standardized tests that students in Indiana must complete.

The mom shared that the teacher's note about test scores brought her son to tears.

In LaBolle's Instagram post, she shared an image of the letter her son's third-grade teacher had passed out to him and the rest of the class. She explained that when she arrived to pick her son up from school, he admitted that he had been embarrassed at crying in school.

"I asked him what upset him, and he told me he cried because he was happy about a letter his teacher gave his class before they take ISTEP," she wrote in the caption. LaBolle, curious as to what was in the letter, read it as well and was left emotional in the same way her son had been.

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In the letter, Rylan's teacher had assured him and the rest of their class that the upcoming standardized test wouldn't determine their worth. "The people who create these tests and score them do not know each of you like I do, and certainly not the way your families do."

"The scores you will get from these tests will tell you something, but they will not tell you everything. These tests do not define you. There are many ways of being smart. YOU are smart! You are enough! You are the light that brightens my day and the reason I am happy to come to work each day," the teacher continued in the letter. "So, in the midst of all these tests, remember that there is no way to 'test' all of the amazing and awesome things that make you, YOU."

LaBolle's son's teacher beautifully captured the anxiety that many students face when it comes time to sit down for these incredibly stressful tests and affirmed to them that they shouldn't base their intelligence and overall abilities on a score.

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Many educators are against standardized testing and the many negative effects it can have on their students.

According to The Washington Post, the average student in America’s big-city public schools takes some 112 mandatory standardized tests between pre-kindergarten and the end of 12th grade — an average of about eight a year.

These standardized tests often focus on a limited set of skills revolving around memorization, test-taking strategies, and analytical reasoning. The problem lies in the fact that intelligence is multifaceted, and includes a steep range of other abilities.

Some students may perform poorly not because they lack the proper intelligence, but because they become overwhelmed by the stress and pressure of performing well using abilities that might not be how they retain information and learn, as well as the testing environments themselves. 

Many teachers have also spoken out against standardized testing as well. 77% to 75%, respectively, of teachers in elementary and middle schools were more likely to say the tests were not appropriate, while 58% of high school teachers said they were not.

While standardized testing can provide some useful information, they should only be just one part of a broader approach to evaluating a student's abilities and potential.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.