Who IS This Kid?

Every state has standardized testing. Ours are called the PSSA tests. It stands for Pennsylvania System of School Assessment. Everyone loves to hate them, including the teachers, but no child is to be left behind. And that's why there is also the PASA test, which is Pennsylvania's Alternate System of Assessment. This, of course, is what Micah takes. And even then, the test has to be modified because Micah can't talk. The PASA is for kids that aren't great at reading, so they do other things like answer questions that are asked of them, and demonstrate counting skills, or whatever the case may be. And because Micah can't talk, he just demonstrates skills such as pointing to which one is the color orange, or find the number 18, or finding the next piece in the given pattern. Last year they video'd his test. I think the reasoning was for teaching purposes for future testers. I signed the waiver, because it won't hurt the boy at all, and if it helps someone learn, it's all good. Except it totally backfired. The note home that day was, "Micah was the first child ever to purposely fail the PASA. That's never happened before." Turns out, Micah decided to perform for the camera rather than listen to his instructions.

Where that boy is concerned, there is no telling what he'll do.

So today Micah took his annual PASA test. Had I know it was today, I would have prepared by thinking of all the ways he could have failed it. And as fate would have it, I subbed today in his wing of the school so I got to talk to his aide after the test happened. (That's how I know he tested today.) People, sit down for this.  (I wish I was given this heads' up.) Micah tested so well, his teacher is going to recommend he bump up a level. SO. AWESOME.

Mostly because I found out this year that the Micah at school is SOOOO not the Micah at home. The home boy we all know and love sees anything even slightly resembling school work or learning and growls at us as he runs from the room. Any efforts on our behalf to get him to do anything like write his full name or count to 20 are met with meltdowns on the kitchen floor or such complete noncompliance that he may as well be Jack the French bulldog. Clearly, Micah can do nothing. Jack can probably count higher from what we know of Micah's school abilities.

The Micah at school, however, is a whiz kid. Not a typical 4th grader, but nobody we recognize. He writes his full name, and sometimes gets so involved in his handwriting that he'll erase and correct any letter that isn't perfect. He counts to 100, he's learning to count by 10's and 5's and 20's, and he's doing simple math. He not only knows sight words, but is sounding things out as he reads bigger things.

Excuse me while I wrap my head around that. Again. Every time I even think about it, my brain explodes with the awesomeness of it. MICAH IS SOUNDING OUT WORDS. OH MY WORD. Shouting is justified. Trust me.

So really, the news that he scored so well on the PASA and needs to be bumped up a level isn't as ground breaking as it would have been a year ago, but it's just something that I have a hard time comprehending. That boy has an amazing staff working with him, and it's pretty obvious. You guys, I'm ridiculously proud of that boy of mine. Ten years ago, I envisioned him in school, but I had no idea what that would look like. Even now, I don't know what it looks like, but I know that despite his struggles and learning hindrances, he's doing things in 4th grade that I only hoped he'd be able to accomplish someday. And he's got a whole lifetime ahead of him.


wendy said...

Such GReat News!!! Shout all you want!!!! And sounding out words!!thats awesome! Good Going Micah!

My Two Army Brats said...


Colleen - Mommy Always Wins said...

Amazing! That's so wonderful. :)