Recently, a new state exam has been implemented into our educational system—the Florida Standardized Assessments. It has replaced its forerunner, FCAT, and has now been the dominant exam for almost 2 years now side by side with SATs, which have expanded to the kindergarten curriculum. There are people—parents, should I say—that completely agree with the new way of testing. There are also the ones who find it too stressful as well as unnecessary. The ones who disagree are looking at the issue in the right perspective.
- The new standardized tests are implementing more stress than ever on students AND teachers. The NEA, National Educators Associations, has openly regarded the issue of too much stress for the teachers, explaining that it derives from the raise in their paychecks for having all students pass and their jobs at stake if the kids do not. Their website stated, “This lack of control over their professional lives, their classrooms, and the test scores of their students has teachers unnerved.” McCloy, a principal staff scientist for the Resources Research Organization in Louisville, Kentucky, notes that because feeling a lack of control is a major stress factor, it is predictable that teachers would be experiencing high stress levels.
1) Millions At Stake
Along with President Busch’s effort for these exams being a large component in both the children and teacher’s’ lives with the No Child Left Behind Act, President Obama is now waving a 3.4 billion dollars’ worth of grants in front of school administrators with a program called, Race to the Top—even the name gives one anxiety! These schools need great scores in order to receive these kinds of grants. So far, the pressure is just increasing for the educational system.
2) The Common Teen Struggle
More often than not, the common teenager likes to keep a healthy social life and fun extra-curricular activities that may help further their likes and dislikes for their future careers, but nowadays that’s almost impossible to do so. From personal experience, the school system has given us A LOT to cover in order to succeed in academics and our social lives. We students are always told to get a good night’s sleep and stay vigilant, yet there are times we just can’t catch a break. “Teachers should balance [the work] a bit more so students go to bed earlier when and know their curriculum really well and don’t feel the need to go to bed so late to do their work right,” Says McCall Horton, a 7th grader at CGPA.
3) All or Nothing
The idea came about several years ago that the scores received on standardized tests should be worth a large portion of the child’s grade in that class. Now they have passed this, and the scores are worth 30 PERCENT of one’s grade in that class. The only good outcome that has come out of this so far, is that the state has excluded all math EOCs from this rule.
Our teachers, parents, and children of the community have enough stress as it is and with the new test adding up almost exponentially, the Florida Educational System is forcing the children to lose a significant portion of their childhood to studying diligently to get a better score, and teachers giving too much work for them to keep them ready for these test (especially since the scores are now worth 30% of a child’s grade in their class). Academics are vital to a young, growing mind, but the modern educational system is flawed in the sense of standardized testing and their weight on students’ grades.