Screening test for 4 1/2 year old



This morning I took Gnat to get screened for school. It’s mandatory. They test the eyes and ears, put the kid through a battery of tests designed to test all sorts of skills. Fill in the blank, name opposites, identify adjectives, repeat patterns, find rhymes, identify alliterations, reconcile Social Security expenditures with income in the out years, etc. The building where the tests were held were in a “changing” neighborhood – inner-city Chicago avenue, which has been down so long most of the gentrifying influences of the 80s and 90s passed it by completely. It looks oddly timeless in its crummy decreptitude.

We were buzzed inside an early 60s institutional building – one of those low-slung windowless bunkers that used to say Progress! And Modernity! Here our children will learn to confront and vanquish Sputnik! It’s a confusing place – no front desk, just a few signs taped on the wall, hallways branching off in peculiar directions. We found the right room, filed out some forms, and off she went. Hearing and vision 100%. While we waited for the next tester (testress would be a better name, if redundant, since the staff was entirely female) we sat on the floor and read books....

Off she went. She came back with a certificate, looking slightly . . . conspicuous and self-conscious.

The testress signaled for the other testrixes to pay heed:

“Perfect score,” she said. “In all the time we have done this, she’s only the second one to get a perfect score.” A round of applause! The expected score for 4 /1/2 year olds is 30 out of 68. She got 68 out of 68. We looked over the results; the testricine explained what they’d done, and how she’d not only got everything right but done so in a snap. And so begins a lifetime of overachievement and self-identification through testing!


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