First let me say, I realize that testing is a part of life. Whether our students want to be lawyers, teachers, auto mechanics or beauticians, they have to pass tests to get degrees and certifications necessary for these jobs. Who doesn’t remember sitting in a testing room for hours while you take an exam that determines whether you pass a course, earn your degree, or get that certification for the job of your dreams? I get anxiety just thinking about it.
I am not anti testing, but testing in the state of Florida has gotten out of control.
State tests like the FSA and EOC are used by government officials to grant school funding and measure effectiveness. Jeb Bush is the champion for Common Core, high stakes testing, and linking school funding to student performance. It’s no wonder that he personally profits from the use of testing companies, like Pearson, who give millions of dollars to his campaign. Politicians have found a way to make public education profitable.
The FSA test cost our state $220 million of taxpayer dollars
Tax dollars are even paying random people to score the test, rather than professionals (see Craigs List ad below). Apparently a teacher’s degree and professional certification isn’t good enough to score student tests.
Meanwhile in schools across the state, students are forced to sit in over crowded testing rooms for hours at a time, missing months of valuable instruction per year.
The disruption to student learning cannot be ignored
It’s not just the FSA that’s causing our students to suffer, over the course of one week my daughter sat in a testing room for 16 hours out of her 30 hour school week to take End of Course exams. She sat next to a boy from Nigeria who speaks little English yet was required to take the test beside her. His score also counts toward the school’s grade and toward his teacher’s performance pay.
End of Course Exams are now state mandated and are no longer created by teachers
Since 2014, final exams must now be created by people elected by the District, and made according to state standards. EOC’s are required for every subject, even those without specific standards. Teachers are not allowed to see the test and when asked for a review, District refers them to a list of 50 generic standards online.
I administered an EOC English test which students reported 14 errors in either grammar, punctuation or spelling. One question was worded so poorly, we couldn’t even figure out what they were asking. Teachers are not allowed to help their students and must stress the importance of these tests, even though the tests are an embarrassment and do not support their instruction.
The FLDOE website shows an average of only 50% of students passing their EOC’s
This is a problem and our teachers are not to blame. Students are failing because they are not being assessed fairly. They are being penalized as each EOC counts as 10% of their final grade. Students who can’t pass the FSA receive a certification of completion rather than a diploma. Teachers who spent the year watching and celebrating their student’s growth, are helpless at the end of the year. All due to poorly constructed, high stakes tests.
politicians are using tests as a weapon to destroy public schools
Since these ridiculous state tests are not required in private, charter or home based schools, frustrated parents are pulling their kids out of public school at alarming rates. This is not due to failing public schools, this is due to greedy politicians who want to standardize our students and then penalize them when they don’t fit the mold.
If there were no profit in testing, teachers would still be able to assess their own kids. They would be treated as the professionals they are with degrees and hours of professional trainings each year.
Article by Jeffrey Solochek, “Pasco County Teachers Raise Concerns About Fairness of District Finals” Tampa Bay Times May 17, 2017
If there was an actual benefit to the FSA and State EOC’s, all schools would use it, including private, charter, and home schools. If tests were more than just a tool to deny schools funding and teachers the pay they’ve earned, it would actually assess what the kids are learning, after they’ve learned it.
I love public education and I will fight for it. I think public school teachers are the strongest, most caring people on the planet. In spite of all the political interference, they put our children first. I believe administrators love their school and want the best for everyone, but they’re afraid. Afraid that if they don’t follow these ridiculous requirements they will lose everything.
Our schools are being blackmailed and need your help. Stand up for our kids. Write your superintendent and your legislatures:
- Tell them your kids deserve to be tested less and taught more.
- Tell them to throw out this ridiculous EOC and allow teachers to take back their classrooms.
- Tell them their tests do not accurately measure your child’s growth and ability.
- Tell them you want tests created by the people who actually teach your kids.
- Tell them your child is smarter, and better than their test.
In the meantime, look into opting out of the FSA: https://www.facebook.com/TheOptOutFloridaNetwork/
Make sure your children are taking the proper tests that count for their future. The ACT and SAT are still required for college acceptance and students can begin testing in 8th grade. Requirements for the SAT and ACT have changed in recent years. If you’re interested in finding out more information regarding college acceptance requirements, click here.
If you were asked what you remember most from school, I’m guessing it wouldn’t be testing. Let’s make sure our kids get the experiences and the education they deserve.
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