And we don't have to do it again for two more years. I finally mailed it off yesterday, and I look forward to seeing the results. I know it won't all be great news--she got 0% on one section of the CogAT because she didn't understand the directions, but we weren't required to do that test anyway--but based on what I saw, I think she probably did well on the reading and science sections of the ITBS. Both of her parents are avid readers who keep her well stocked with science books from the library, so that's not unexpected.
I'm glad I had the experience of seeing dd8 take a standardized test. I now understand better why teachers complain about high-stakes accountability tests. Kids can "have a bad day", react poorly to the pressure of being timed, or just not care how they do on a test that has little relation to their interests. That doesn't mean I'm an advocate of abolishing testing now, just that I sympathize with them about some of their concerns. In my ideal world, every child would regularly receive short, periodic assessments that would be used to tailor instruction to the child as well as to measure his/her progress. Such testing can be a useful tool for parents, teachers, and administrators, as well as give the child an incentive to do his/her best on the test so as not to be placed at an instructional level that is too low and thus "boring".