Friday, March 16, 2012

Testing Times

Yesterday was the day of the Selective Schools Test. It is a day that many families prepare for for a long time, spending a lot of time and money preparing their child for the test, which determines entrance to selective schools.

She’d been feeling sick the day before, and had a day at home, resting. She wasn’t feeling well for the day of the test either, and took some panadol, which she said didn’t work.

As the children went in to do the test some of the parents admitted they were anxious and feeling a bit sick, and that they needed to go somewhere and calm down.

We didn’t do any coaching. My daughter did a few practice tests, between doing her homework, and her usual activities. She marked her own papers. We pretty much left her to it. She did practice trying to complete the paper in the set time. She didn’t do any practice for the written part. As she went into the test I said, ‘Have fun’.

The test was to take from 9am to 1.15, with four components to complete. In fact they finished at 2.20, so we didn’t bother going back to school as we had planned. We went out for iced chocolate. She told me that one of her friends was crying during a break, because she didn’t have time to finish the test, and felt she wasn’t doing as well as she had in the practices. The girls tried to comfort their friend, saying that test condition make the test harder, and calm down, she’ll be ok, not everyone can finish the test. Another of their friends had brought no food to eat in the breaks. So the girls chipped in and each gave her some of their food.

There were some boys there from a private school. For those families, accepting a place at a selective school would mean a savings of nearly $200,000. One of these boys spoke during the test, and had one of his papers disqualified. I wonder if he told his parents.

Before we went to pick up her sisters she told me that she’s glad we didn’t send her to a coaching college. She said that if she’d practised much more she would have felt more pressure, and wouldn’t have done as well. She’s aware that some of the kids in her year are sitting lots of tests at the moment. Applying for scholarships at private schools. They’re feeling the pressure.

More and more other mums are saying to me that they are told they can choose a school for their child, but really, the school chooses them. And they are tired to going to open days and shopping for schools. The application for public high schools had to be submitted today, and I sent in my daughter’s resume (she’s eleven) and copies of all her certificates. We are lucky that we like our local public school. There won’t be any shopping around for the next two children who graduate primary school. We want what we already have, our local public school, and we’re happy.

As for the test, I reckon she and her friends have already passed with flying colours.

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