I attended the annual Brownsville Middle School Falcon Fest. The fest was to honor the students who completed Saturday School Academy. These classes prepare students to pass the Florida Standard Assessment test. Some of the students received bikes for their academic achievements. It was a good way to bring the community together.The event got me thinking more critically about the Florida Standard Assessment Test. This test is a product of the No Child Left behind Act of 2002. The law on Florida standardized testing actually expired in 2007, but the policy is still in place. Although there have been many concerns about the affects of standardize testing the practice still remains the same. Parental concerns are that teachers are now relegated to teaching “the test”.
I experienced this practice in high school. If enough students in the advanced placement classes passed the advanced placement test the school would get some kind of special accreditation. In my first English class we read Shakespeare out loud. I loved it. I was later moved up to the AP English class where all we did was go over test answers and strategies. I ditched class and hung out with the other delinquents who felt they had better things to do.
There are a lot of students who react to testing the way I did when I was in high school. My mentality was if I’m not learning anything, then why do I need to be here? Fortunately for me standardized assessment test were not used to determine whether or not you were passed to the next grade level. Your teachers determined that based on your overall classroom performance. Testing requires a certain level of memorization that may not reflect a student’s full understanding of the material. As cliché as it sounds, some people really don’t test well, I know because I am one of those people.
My fear is that the test has saturated the learning experience. It is very difficult for students to be excited about learning when there is the pressure of this test looming over their heads. It is my hope that young people today are getting a well-rounded education despite standardize testing.