Polk Schools Delay FSA Testing

Read the Ledger Article here. I would really like to know what parents and teachers think of this process. We are so eager to test, that we do not even make sure that the test and technology can handle the administration BEFORE having students sit for the test! 

I can guarantee you this – had a student not been ready on Monday, he/she would not have been given any accommodation or forgiveness!

Standardized Testing

There was an article in the NY Times today that discusses the “opt out” option. In case you hadn’t heard, the groundswell of opposition to high stakes tests has galvanized in what is called the “opt out.”  This “opt out” option allows students to opt in which parents exercise the option of having their children not take the exam.  Whether they can or not is an issue that will no doubt be settled in future court cases.  In the meantime, some students will be sitting out this latest round of testing.  In case you want to read about “opt out,” you can find it at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/02/nyregion/as-common-core-testing-is-ushered-in-parents-and-students-opt-out.html?_r=0

Today marks the start of this year’s round of high stakes testing in Florida public schools.  While we no longer have the FCAT, Florida has a new test, the Florida Standards Assessment, that evaluates whether a student is mastering a new curriculum called Common Core.  No doubt, there will be all sorts of comments, debates, and discussions about this year’s assessment.  Amidst the chatter and the clutter, a few important questions remain unanswered.

As the Times article points out, Common Core was developed and implemented “to better prepare students for college.” It seems, therefore, that we will judge ALL students based on their performance on a test that assesses their preparation for college.  Do we have a curriculum and a test for the 40% to 60% of students who drop out of high school?  And what is the curriculum for the 35% who complete their high school education, but who choose not to go to college?

Second, a number of Florida school districts are asking that this new test not be used to evaluate teachers or to grade schools until we know that it is providing accurate results. So far, their requests have been denied. Insisting that they must hold teachers and schools accountable, state legislatures are determined to make important, life-changing decisions for principals, teachers, and students based on tests whose quality and reliability have not yet been established.  It will be a great day when policy makers consult with educators before making decisions that could have a negative effect on thousands of teachers and students.  In the meantime, let’s make sure that current policies hurt as few as possible.

I am interesting in knowing your experiences with high stakes testing.