That dreaded FCAT

Today is the day, the fourth and tenth graders are taking the dreaded FCAT test.  I will be the first to say that it will be great when the testing is over.  My fourth grade daughter has been freaking out over this test since before Christmas.  I am an English teacher so I understand the importance of the test (to the state) but what I do not understand is how putting such extreme pressure on students to do well will actually help in any way.  If you prepare them well they will do fine, adding all the extra pressure is not helpful.  I have come across quite a few fourth grade students who are seriously scared that they will fail the writing test and that it will hurt their grade in some way. What their teachers do not tell them is that it will not, it does not affect them or their grade in any manner.

There there are the tenth graders who don’t really give a crap either way.  So even if you tried to put a lot of pressure on them, most still would not even think about it until the day of.  Another issue that I have is they want the students to write a nice 5 paragraph essay and to do so they give them a nice test booklet with two whole pages! This will be a hard task to fit all of the essay on those two pages, especially if they write large.

If you haven’t noticed I find this test wrong in so many ways.  And I really do not think that students can always show their potential on one limited in space, timed, and stressful assessment.

This story is a good example why the test fails in so many ways:

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/palm-beach/fl-fcat-placebo-effect-20120227,0,7231999.story

 

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