Why I’m Not Proud of My Kid’s Test Scores

We got my oldest son’s state standardized test scores last night – he did exceptionally well, which was no surprise.

It was really hard not to praise him for it.

I have told him again and again that his worth is in no way related to his performance on the test. He’s also heard me talk about how the testing time would be better spent on instruction. (Or spent on recess, music, art – but that’s a longer story!)

However, when the results are really good, it’s difficult not to pat the back of someone you love.

He knows I’m proud of him for being an honest, ethical, hard-working, creative, responsible, passionate dreamer.

If I tell him I’m proud of him for his test scores, it might undermine his innate sense of self-worth, and will likely promote a fixed mindset. He might let the score define him, rather than all the traits I listed above.

I am proud of him for taking the test seriously and doing his best. I am proud of him for expressing his reservations about the time spent testing and practicing for the test.

I am not proud of his score.