It’s been an interesting week. I recently received the Florida FCAT scores on my oldest daughter, Nikki, who was in 10th grade last year. She did great except her score in Language Arts was a failing score of 2. Considering that she is an Honors student, an excellent reader, and has had consistently high scores in the past, we were absolutely floored, to say the least.
Since I had already heard from others in our community about their kids’ scores dropping, I immediately told my daughter to not worry about her score…that the scores were messed up this year for many students. I could see the disappointment in her eyes, though, and could tell that she was feeling pretty bad. She immediately asked me if this meant she would be put in a remedial reading class. I told her no, because I wouldn’t allow it. She is reading well above grade level and I want her to continue with Honors classes.
Now that this testing madness has finally hit home in my household, I’m not just mad about it, I’m hurt. I have a feeling of not having any control over such unfairness. My daughter has been labeled as “failing” and I know, as her mother and as an educator, that she isn’t, nor is her teacher. I am also concerned that her failing score is “set in stone”, never to be changed. I feel absolutely helpless about it.
I also wonder whether or not her opportunities for getting into a good college have been limited. This FCAT score was her last test; she will never have to take it again. It will be noted on her transcript and presented to potential colleges. I haven’t expressed any of this to her, as I do not want to upset her, but it is a concern. Will her college opportunities be limited because of the political climate in the US over test scores? How many students across our nation are receiving low scores this year because the Dept. of Ed changed the cut scores or changed the questions to push some political agenda?
I think there has been a lot of damage done this year with regard to test scores (actually, this has been going on for some time now…I’m just now opening my eyes). More and more, parents and educators are feeling like they cannot trust the validity of state exams. With all that is going on, I am wondering how many educators have lost their jobs based on bogus test results? How many students have been forced into remedial classes that they should not have been placed in? How many high school students have lost out on better college opportunites because of bogus state exam scores? I think the DOE and politicians have some damage control to do. I don’t think the American public will ever trust test scores again. I know I won’t.