The pressure is on. On your desk are a scantron, a No.2 pencil, and an eraser. The room resonates with the sound of a teacher delivering scripted directions in a monotone voice.
As the testing starts, thoughts rush through your mind at fifty miles per hour with the doubts and fears of your teachers, your parents, and yourself from yet another state-mandated exam.
At the beginning of the year, many students and teachers were enraged to find out that many new state-mandated exams would now be part of the curriculum.
Students will take the Florida Standard Assessment (FSA) and end-of-course exams in most subjects. And students taking Advanced Placement classes will take those tests as well.
In addition to required tests, students must also take “practice” tests at the beginning and middle of the school year.
These interim assessments take hours away from instructional time.
“There does need to be some standardized assessment. I totally agree with EOCs (End of Course Exams), but I don’t agree with these quarterly and mid-year [exams],” World History teacher Calvin Webb said.
A new education bill from Senate Education Chairman John Legg aims at lessening standardized testing time.
This legislation proposes the following; to limit standardized testing to forty-five hours (or five percent of a student’s time in school), reduce the amount that student test results count toward teacher evaluations (lowered from fifty percent to forty percent), and allow districts to use something other than tests to asses students in certain courses.
The bill would require at least thirty percent of a teacher’s evaluation to be based on classroom teaching methods.
“Teachers should not be judged by how their students perform, but by how they perform,” sophomore Daniel Marks said.
Legg also wants to eventually create a process for districts to allow schools to ‘opt-out’ of testing if they encounter any problems. The issues would be documented and then submitted to the local school board and finally the state board of education for approval.
The bill does not get rid of all standardized testing.
Schools would still be required to give statewide end-of-course exams in certain subjects, as well as the FSA, which replaces the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), and is a part of the new Common Core-based Florida Standards.
However, the bill does make some students hopeful.
“I find it relieving to see that students are finally being seen as human and not robots expected to give results. Hopefully this bill passes to alleviate some of our stress.” sophomore Sergio Alvarez said.