A teacher is going viral for the note she wrote to her students, reminding them how much more they are than their standardized test scores

According to the Washington Post, the average American student takes 112 standardized tests by the time they graduate from high school—an average of eight per year. But there are some big problems with standardized tests: they focus on a limited set of skills, they heavily favor memorization and test-taking strategies, and they penalize students who underperform—not because they don’t know the material, but because they struggle with the pressure, the time constraints, or any number of other factors related to the testing environment. Now a teacher is going viral for her note to her students about test scores, and it’s a message that every student needs to hear.

Mom Abby LaBolle shared the note, which her third-grade son, Rylan, brought home from school.

Rylan’s teacher had given the note to all the students in her class ahead of their standardized tests in math and reading, and in it, she assured them that their test scores don’t reflect who they are or what they’re worth.

“The people who create these tests and score them do not know each of you like I do, and certainly not the way your families do,” she wrote. “They do not know that some of you speak two languages, or that you love to sing or draw. They have not seen your natural talent for dancing… They do not know that you are kind, trustworthy, and thoughtful, and every day  you try to be your very best.”

She continued, “The scores you will get from these tests will tell you something, but they will not tell you everything. These tests do not define you. There are many ways of being smart. YOU are smart! You are enough! You are the light that brightens my day and the reason I am happy to come to work each day. So, in the midst of all these tests, remember that there is no way to ‘test’ all of the amazing and awesome things that make you, YOU.”

She ended the note by asking her students to just do their best on their tests and not give up.

“I believe in you,” she wrote.

It’s a powerful and important reminder that children are so much more than their test scores—and every child should know it.

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