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I am Eight

This was written by a School Counselor in the Rochester, New York area after administering state testing to special education elementary school students.

I am Eight

I like to play and school is okay. I am eight, isn̢۪t that great!

Reading is hard but I’m doing my best, I’ve gone up four levels—from a J to an N. This makes my mom proud of me—she says I am great and I am eight.

My teachers have been working a lot with me, they say I can learn and they cheer me on. They believe in me and I believe them, oh boy is it great to be eight.

Today is the big day, it is time for the test, it is called the New York State ELA. I get extended time so I should be fine. I will try my best. I am prepared. I am eight and I am great.

The directions are read and the test has begun, I am excited to show all that I know. I think I will do great because I am eight.

Oh no, I can̢۪t read this as well as my books! I will raise my hand for help just like in class. I will figure this out and then I will pass. I will do great, I am eight.

What, you can̢۪t help me, surely you jest! I know that this is a really big test. I am trying my best! These words are so hard and after all I̢۪m just eight.

It's an hour already and I have been working quite steady when my butt starts to hurt. Less than one hour to go, but why do they expect me to sit here this long? My body is restless my eyes start to burn, this is really torture I̢۪m beginning to learn. I'm starting to think it's not great to be eight.

I can do no more; my brain̢۪s going to burst. I must sit here and wait quietly while others still work. I cannot draw or read for the State has decreed; if I occupy my mind it may help someone cheat. I want to scream out let me move, let me leave, I am eight!

I get to do this five more times after today; you see they will test me six days in two weeks. That's almost twelve hours I kid you not for it is true. I think New York State wants to torture me for being already eight!

Five months later the results of the test are finally here. My family is nervous and I feel fear. I tried my best on that long difficult test. I got a 2, not a 3 or a 4. I am not meeting standards I did rather poor. My family and teachers lied. The test must know best. I have failed, a failure am I. All my teachers and I can do is cry. The lesson I learned is that I am eight, and I am not great.

— New York School Counselor




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