9-year-old Sydney Smoot, a fourth grader at Brooksville Elementary, shared her concerns on testing in schools with members of the Hernando County School Board at their regular meeting on March 17, 2015.
Speaking of the Florida Standards Assessment Test, or FSA for short, Sydney told the school board that:
This testing looks at me as a number. One test defines me as either a failure or a success through a numbered rubric. One test at the end of the year that the teacher or myself will not even see the grade until after the school year is already over. I do not feel that all this FSA testing is accurate to tell how successful I am. It doesn’t take in account all of my knowledge and abilities, just a small percentage.
Of particular concern was the fact that the FSA prohibits students from talking to their parents about the test.
“I am not comfortable signing something like this,” Sydney stated, adding: “I have the right to talk to my parents about any and everything related to school and my education.”
When my daughter came home telling me she had to sign a form stating she couldn’t talk to anyone including her parents, I got concerned. Not only that I didn’t like the fact that the last four of her Social Security number was on the test labels along with other personal information. In today’s world of identity theft, it doesn’t take much for people to get a hold of these things and use them.
You can see that by the end of her speech, the entire audience rose to give Sydney a rousing standing ovation.
Hello fellow members of the school board. Today I will express my concerns about the FSA testing. I consider myself a well-educated young lady. However with FSA tests my five years of school, all on honor roll, do not matter.
This testing looks at me as a number. One test defines me as either a failure or a success through a numbered rubric. One test at the end of the year that the teacher or myself will not even see the grade until after the school year is already over.
I do not feel that all this FSA testing is accurate to tell how successful I am. It doesn’t take in account all my knowledge and abilities, just a small percentage.
Here are my concerns.
First of all, I do not feel good about a form in the FSA that you have to sign ensuring that you can’t even discuss the test with your parents. I am not comfortable signing something like this. I have the right to talk to my parents about any and everything related to school and my education.
Second, why am I being forced to take a test that hasn’t even been tested on students here in Florida so how can it be accurate and valid on what I know? Why are we taking most of the year stressing and prepping for one test at the end of the year when we should be taking tests throughout the year that really measure our abilities. My opinion is that we should take a test at the beginning of the year, middle, and end of the school year to accurately measure what we know.
Third, the stress and pressure that this testing puts on me, and I’m sure most students, is not healthy. Why should we have so much stress about one test when we should be learning and having fun in school? With all this testing in school, more fun things in school such as recess are being eliminated because of all the training for the test.
So ladies and gentlemen of the school board, I urge you to put a stop to high stakes testing today. It is not fair for the schools, teachers, and students. Parents and students, contact your governor. Put a stop to all the standardized testing. Thank you so much for your time.