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Former teacher says standardized tests don't matter, but 'ideas and passion' do

Abi Elphinstone encouraged students to "dream big" after failing the SAT, a standardized test required among U.K. elementary students.
/ Source: TODAY

Adventures, big dreams and passion can get students a lot farther in life than the test scores from standardized tests, a children’s author and former teacher is telling children after she flunked the exams.

“I just took the 2016 SAT tests. I failed,” Abi Elphinstone wrote on a hand-written sign she holds up in a photo posted on Facebook. The Scottish author and former English teacher noted she received 25 percent in math and 40 percent in English on the exams.

The SAT that Elphinstone refers to is not the same college entrance exam taken in the United States. Instead, it’s a series of educational assessment exams that provide a similar type of anxiety to elementary-aged students throughout the United Kingdom.

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“Kids, you don’t need to know what a modal verb or subordinating conjunctive is to get where you want in life,” Elphinstone wrote. "You need ideas and passion — so go on adventures, dream BIG and don’t worry about your SAT scores.”

Elphinstone said she especially takes issue with the English exams, which contain "irrelevant and obscure information that does little to enrich a child's learning."

Her Facebook post received more than 179,000 reactions and generated more than 7,5000 comments, mainly praise from parents of children who have felt overwhelmed by stress and test preparations.

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“Love this so much! Way too much pressure on our children. That's what they are ....children.... and should be able to still be children, not robots!" one mother wrote in her comment.

But others raised concerns that Elphinstone was sending the wrong message to youth about education.

"Teach kids not to care about exams and schools? Great idea," wrote one dad.

TODAY reached out to Elphinstone for comment, but she declined an interview because of her work and book tour schedule.

Follow writer Eun Kyung Kim on Twitter.