At first it was subtle: a sample standardized test they were “trying out” for the Geometry course. It was no big deal. Students are used to trying out new forms of testing and it wouldn’t count against them. But then the Biology test came, followed by Algebra 2 and U.S. History, all appearing on report cards with the label of “passed” or “failed”. Students were irritated, but since it was just the core classes no one really complained, after all we could still enjoy our electives, or so we thought. All of a sudden, the brewing storm of scantrons and number 2 pencils exploded with a blast of extraneous nonsense. A new End of Course ripe and ready for 2014…in art.
Students like Viking Mayor, an 11th grader who took the Art EOC last year reflected on what the Art EOC tested students on.
“It was unfair to test art students because art is a creative subject, even though we learn styles we don’t learn art history or specific paintings,” Mayor said. And now every class is going to have an EOC exam, whether it’s Calculus or AP Government (you read that right, even the Advanced Placement classes will have an EOC to add to our already delightfully ridiculous amount of stress). Not even the most relaxing and enjoyable electives will go unscathed. Good luck if you’re a bad test taker because if you fail the exam, you fail the class.
It’s not just MAST students who are upset about the outrageous standardized debacle; teachers like MAST’s own Art teacher Craig Kirk are also irked.
“There’s no classroom time, it’s all testing and not enough learning. Students study to take the tests and then an hour later they forget everything, never really learning anything,” Kirk said.
Like Kirk, Cayce Benton who teaches the music and drama classes at MAST is equally upset with the EOC’s being forced onto elective classes.
“I don’t think it’s necessary and it limits [things],” Benton said. “It makes specific classes become general classes to teach to the test instead of creating forward-moving, creative, and interesting lessons and projects outside of the norm.”
So who do we have to thank for this wonderful improvement to our school system? According to Florida Virtual School’s page about the EOC (which online students will also take):
“During the 2013 legislative session, Governor Scott signed into law Senate Bill 1076, which continued the state mandated End-of-Course (EOC) Assessments. It also authorized a new standard diploma with designation options for public school students.”
The same Governor Rick Scott was just re-elected this past mid-term election, so don’t bet on the EOC going anywhere but into more Florida class curriculums any time soon.