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The Silent Treatment: No-Flush Rule During Testing Irks Fla. Parents

Cross-posted from the Curriculum Matters blog

By Catherine Gewertz

Sometimes the ramp-up to testing gets a little out of hand. Pep rallies, raffles, T-shirts, pizza parties, are used as spirit-builders—or bribes, depending on your point of view—for good participation and performance. Today we bring you one of the weirder tales of over-the-top test behavior.

It comes to us from the Orlando Sentinel, which reports that administrators at one elementary school forbid the flushing of toilets during testing last spring. That's to cut down on the distraction, mind you. 

"The whooshing water sounds from classroom bathrooms, they feared, might disturb test-taking classmates and send their focus, and their scores, spiraling down the drain," the Sentinel said of Avalon Elementary School leaders.

That rule, and others, have landed on a list of testing practices that are now the target of angry Avalon parents, according to the newspaper. Pre-testing pep rallies and testing T-shirts are also on the list of things the parents want stopped before this spring's standardized tests.

Another curious tidbit on the list? Some schools' practice of referring to testing days as "lockdown days." In some schools, also, administrators have younger students write "encouraging notes" to older students who are about to take the tests, the Sentinel reports. That creative idea has landed on the parents' target list, too.

Mind you, these parents aren't angry about the tests themselves; They aren't looking to dump the assessments. They're pretty happy, in fact, about the school's performance, since it tends to be top-ranked in Florida's grading system. It's all the surrounding hoopla they're after. They say it stresses kids out.

What weird testing rules or activities have your schools put into place? Let us know!

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