Standardized testing can be extremely time-consuming, difficult, and frustrating – especially for students who learn differently than others. This is why at Lansbury Bridge School & Sports College, a school designed to “meet the needs of children with complex learning difficulties,” most students choose not to participate in the tedious standardized testing.
However, 11-year-old Ben Twist did not let his learning obstacles stop him from taking the SAT, a U.K. version of a class placement test. While Twist unfortunately did not meet the grade average for the standardized test, he received a heartfelt letter from one of his teachers, Ruth Clarkson, identifying all the other ways in which he succeeded in the classroom that year.
In the letter, Clarkson congratulated Ben on his competition of the test, regardless of the results, and shared an essential lesson, “A very important piece of information I want you to understand is that these tests only measure a little bit of you and your abilities. They are important and you have done so well but Ben Twist is made up of many other skills and talents that we at Lansbury Bridge see and measure in other ways.” She went on to list the numerous skills and talents of Twist that they have recognized in the classroom. Some of these included his ability to work in a team, his kindness, his ability to make and keep friends, and his ability to discuss and evaluate his own progress. Clarkson ended her letter reminding him what a ‘lovely bright young man’ he is and how proud all of his teachers are of him.
Gail Twist, Twist’s mother, said she was moved that someone took the time to personally write to her son to highlight his accomplishments. She told the Liverpool Echo, ‘We knew the results were coming, but to get a letter like that – I got part-way through it and I burst into tears.” Since sharing the letter on Twitter on July 9th, Twist has received almost 7,000 likes and 4,000 retweets.
When the letter was read to Twist, he responded with: “Wow. Do they really think that about me? I feel amazing.” Ben Twist and his amazing teacher Ms. Clarkson, prove that no matter where you may fall on the spectrum, your efforts and accomplishments in the classroom do not go unnoticed, and you should never be discouraged by your disability.
Congrats on all you’ve achieved this year Ben! The American Autism Association team is so proud of you!