I’m not a fan of McTests. My formal training is in pedagogy, and I’m a certified teacher in my home state. Even without my experience in college and my practicum, however, I know standardized tests are BS, and I’m not the only one.
In a video posted on YouTube, Syndey Smoot, a fourth grader at Brooksville Elementary in Hernando County, Florida, gives the school board a piece of her mind regarding the Florida Standards Assessment during a March 17 meeting. And while I’ve never seen the FSA before, all her criticisms ring true: from the stress it puts on students to cutting out other, non-test related classes and activities, I’ve heard and seen it all in action.
As a student teacher, I’ve seen parts of the test that not everyone sees, as well. For instance, I’ve seen how disruptive it can be to your schedule and curriculum.
For example: lets say I have three classes of eighth graders — first, fifth, and sixth hours. This means that I had to move them all along the same curriculum at roughly the same speed. So if we’re reading Daedalus and Icarus because we’re in unit on mythology, each of these classes would read it at about the same time. Doing otherwise is a planning nightmare.
In my state, the test is at the beginning of the year, and it’s a half-day, two or three days a week. This means three things:
- My first hour will shot; I’ll probably be proctoring the test, not advancing the unit
- My fifth and sixth hours will have spent all day testing and won’t interested in doing much else
- My second and third hour classes, make them juniors, will have to be moved to a different room in a different part of the school
Since I no longer have a first hour, any lessons I do with fifth and sixth hours will have to be outside of the unit we’re studying (or I have to do extra work modifying the unit on top of everything else). Fifth and sixth hours will also be tired from hours of slavishly filling in bubbles. Meanwhile, my juniors will have to adjust to a new classroom in a different part of the building twice a week, which means some coming in late because they’ll have forgotten (or “forgotten”), disrupting class.
And this is a relatively minor problem compared to some of the other issue: namely, how the test is tied to funding for the school (I can go in deep with the stupidities about AYP and how poor districts that do bad because they’re poor get less money for doing bad, making them poorer, but I won’t).
This young woman hits all the highlights and more. She’s very articulate, and, more importantly, she’s right. Given the money wrapped up in state testing, however, her excellent speech probably won’t have much of an impact on anything.
Watch the 02:26 speech below:
[h/t Democratic Underground]