May is that dreaded time of year for New Jersey students. Because this year, it's when more state-mandated testing is underway.

And look, as a parent of twin boys in third grade, I understand the importance of these tests. Now, do I feel that they should be scaled back a bit in general? Perhaps.

I know a few teachers who hate teaching to a test, but it is what it is. As I said, I understand that we need them when it comes to our education system.

The part that's rough on a lot of kids, however, isn't so much the material. I know it's different for every kid, but so far my boys have said it hasn't been that bad.

The part that is more problematic is the pressure of the tests being timed. That seems to make some of the kids anxious, and it may affect their test scores as a result.

Not all kids, because some are clearly not bothered by the clock or are very good at tuning it out. But for those who are bothered by it, there should be some leeway when it comes to these mandatory tests.

Now I will say that the school my kids go to has been doing a great job working on keeping the pressure off. Mine could be bothered by the ticking clock so the fact that they're able to tune it out is great.

But they have a couple of friends who have been bothered by the limited time and have been flustering as a result. It's nothing the teachers are doing wrong or anything like that, it's just the way the structure is set up.

What I don't like about it is that those kids who feel the pressure might get more wrong then if there wasn't that added pressure. On top of constantly checking the clock, these tests are also stressed as extremely important, which only adds to the anxiety for some.

Forcing kids to take an incredibly important test and making it known their time is limited isn't for everyone. I remember taking these and I think I had to skip over a bunch of questions because I had no time to gather my thoughts.

It had nothing to do with my ability, I just wasn't able to do it within the time frame they wanted it to be done because of the pressure we were under to move quickly. Now, many years later, the same is still true today (only it feels like more tests than ever).

Kudos to all the schools that have been helping the kids who are bothered by the clock. Just because they struggle to think about the time, doesn't mean they're not capable of passing with flying colors.

Maybe someday the timed testing will change for the better. Especially for the elementary kids, where that struggle is probably greater than in higher grades (High school, of course, is a different story since they're getting ready for the real world).

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Gallery Credit: Dino Flammia/Sergio Bichao

Testing in New Jersey

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Gallery Credit: Mike Brant

The above post reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 Sunday morning host Mike Brant. Any opinions expressed are his own.

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