Sunday, August 4, 2013

Why doesn’t Florida have a test that helps kids?

The leaders in Tallahassee love high stakes standardized tests. They love it so much they built the accountability system around the biggest one of all, the FCAT. But do you know whom the FCAT helps improve? Nobody!

Think about this. If a kid takes the FCAT in late March and it says he or she is bad at this or that do you know when the kid may and I repeat may, get remedial help? Not until at least the next school year when they will be expected to also master the next level of standards. The FCAT all but assures if a kid is behind they fall more so.

If we are so bound and determined to have standardized tests why don’t we have one at the beginning of the year to see what a kid needs, and one at the end of the year to see if the kid got it and this would eliminate some kids Christmas treeing of the test too because if a kid performed below a certain level, instead of failing them which is happens at least in third grade now, they would have the option to to go to summer school or fail. I know if a test determined whether I got six weeks off or if I got six more weeks of school I would take it seriously. Furthermore this would better gauge a teacher’s effectiveness. Right now teachers are often held accountable for things that happened or didn’t happen before they even met their students.

The system we have now only punishes, why don’t we have a system that helps instead?

Chris Guerrieri
School Teacher