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Indiana teacher writes messages on desks to assure students the ISTEP won’t define them

SCOTTSBURG, Ind. – Before the ISTEP began this year, a southern Indiana teacher made sure her students knew their test scores wouldn’t define them.

Lindsey Cazares said in a Facebook post that she knows the standardized test makes many students nervous and unsettled, and it actually makes her feel the same way.

“How do these tests measure just how amazing each of my 22 kids are? How do these tests measure just how successful each of my kids will become? How do these tests measure just how good of people each of my students are or will be?” wrote Cazares. “The answer is that they don’t.”

What does, she said, is the time she spends with them around a small group table, during dodgeball games, and when they come up to her with a problem.

So, the fifth grade teacher at Scottsburg’s Vienna-Finley Elem School sat down with her markers and wrote all of her students personalized messages on their desks.

Cazares said this isn’t the first time she’s written her students messages before the ISTEP. Last year, she stayed after work to write similar messages to her then-30 kids.

“So as I go to bed tonight, I will be praying for all ISTEP-taking students’ and ISTEP-administering teachers’ hearts and minds to be put at ease this week as they test,” Cazares wrote. “ISTEP Round One, we’re coming for ya!”