School Board Member Proves Standardized Tests are Terrible

Recently, a Florida school board member took a version of the state’s standardized test, the FCAT. Being from Florida, let me tell you that the FCAT is the worst. It’s a test all students are required to take almost every year of school from elementary to high school, and it determines your placement in your classes and whether or not you pass the grade you’re in. So if you do bad on the reading or math, you’re placed in a low reading or math class which affects the rest of the classes you are placed in for the rest of your K-12 career (and it’s not like you can just ask to go to AP English Literature from a low level reading).
So when this school board member took the test, he didn’t do very well. He said that if he would have taken the same test in school, he wouldn’t be where he is today because his options would have been limited. When I took the FCAT,  I always scored pretty high, and I had my choice of which classes I could take. Eventually I was able to take all AP classes and make myself a competitive college applicant. But I had friends who weren’t so lucky. They didn’t do as well and were placed in whatever classes the school wanted to put them in, so they had less of an advantage when applying to college.
However, it’s not like my friends weren’t smart. They were very smart and, like most of your friends, they had their own areas if expertise, which always amazed me. Maybe they were an animal expert or a fashion lover and wanted to go into those fields. Well, the FCAT doesn’t test on those, so while my friends were extremely smart in those areas, they were made to feel stupid by a REALLY stupid test.
If you’re from Florida, you’ll remember that basically everything you learned was about the FCAT. That was all the teachers taught: How to do well on the FCAT. There’s no inspirational moments like in Freedom Writers in which the teacher can throw the lesson plans out the window and focus on making you a better person who is prepared for real life, while also teaching you how to express yourself through writing (in Florida we only learned about writing in fourth, eighth, and tenth grade when the FCAT writing test was upon us…). There’s no bonding with your teacher like in Matilda. It’s just constant reading comprehension and unrealistic math problems (two things I’ve never been asked to do at college, any job I’ve had, or any of my internships).
Obviously, the FCAT isn’t the only bad standardized test. A lot of states have their own system, and there’s always the SAT and the ACT, which REALLY determine your future by testing how good you are at taking the SAT, not how prepared your mind is for college. I can’t tell you have many times I’ve been asked to solve an SAT-type analogy in college. Oh wait, yes I can: Zero times.

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