Over the past period of years, especially since the “No Child Left Behind” law of the Bush administration, standardized testing has become all the rage. Speaking as a former Delaware teacher, I can tell you that, during the month of March, the state test controlled the schedule of the entire school. And the school where I worked was a high performing school. I used to hear horror stories from teachers in other districts, about how their principals basically structured the entire school’s schedule, for the entire year, in some cases, around the test. There was nothing more important than the test.
While there is some disagreement on the other hot topic in education — “Common Core” — almost everyone involved in education, from teachers, to parents, to students, and in some cases, even school administrators, has had enough of high stakes standardized tests. The companies that make the tests are getting rich, while everyone, and everything, else suffers, including the students in schools that “teach to the test.”
Recently, the state of Florida dropped Common Core. The state hired a company, American Institutes for Research, to develop a new test, called the FSA, or Florida State Assessment. According to the Washington Post, the state is paying the company $220 million over six years for the test. And the company didn’t even field test the assessment on Florida students — it did so in Utah, where the company also has a testing contract.
Nine-year-old Sydney Smoot, a fourth grade student in Hernando County, Florida, is unhappy about the FSA, and she does not think the test accurately measures what she has learned. Not only that, but she says the test is stressful, which is something that educators and students have been saying about these tests ever since they came into vogue.
Jennifer Smoot says that she helped her daughter with the speech, but that Sydney wrote most of it herself. Here’s what she had to say, via the Washington Post:
Featured image via screen capture from the Washington Post