FCAT stresses students out

By: Erica Rakow Email
By: Erica Rakow Email

Bay County-- Tenth graders at Mosley High School in Lynn Haven are breathing a sigh of relief Wednesday. They completed the reading portion of the FCAT.

"it's such a big test and you really have to pass it and if you don't want to take it again as a junior, it's kind of a big responsibility," said 10th grade student, Brandon Consolver.

That responsibility includes promotion to the next grade, and future funding for their school. Some students get so worked up about the test they can't even get through it.

“Actually I had one student that's in this classroom right now that missed the test yesterday because she had made herself so sick because she's such an overachiever," said Intensive Reading teacher, Andrea Mucelli.

"They just make themselves so sick because of the anxiety of taking a test and it's one of the things we have done to them in this state by making them take these tests and it being such a high stake test," said Superintendent Bill Husfelt.

But it's not only high school students who are feeling pressured by the FCAT. At Tuesday's school board meeting, Superintendent Husfelt shared a letter from a concerned parent who said she asked an 8-year-old boy how he was feeling the other night and he replied ‘not good’. She said, ‘why is that?’ and he said ‘because I have FCAT tomorrow’.

"Here's a little boy at a ball park on the weekend and he should be having fun and just enjoying being there and he had FCAT on his mind," said Husfelt.

Husfelt believes the test carries too much weight.

"Making them worry about you know, can I pass this test and can I pass the 3rd grade, the 5th, can I pass the 8th grade and so that's an awful young age to start putting those pressures on students," said Husfelt.

While it's a good measure of student progress, it's also heavily dependent on the emotional states of children.

"If they had an argument with a parent that morning, it's not good. They had a fight with their boyfriend on the bus, maybe they didn't test so well. And so I am concerned that it's just this one tiny little snapshot and it's an awful lot of high stakes placed on that one snapshot," said Assistant Principal for Guidance at Mosely High School.

Students will continue taking the math and science portions of the FCAT through next week.


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  • by Buck s tudent on Apr 18, 2011 at 08:39 AM
    Wow!! Really just a test... well if you dont pass it in 5th, 8th or 10th you do not go on to the next grade and the new math test the 10 th graders took is 4 hours long i was streesed out the whole time
  • by Heather on Apr 15, 2011 at 07:06 AM
    Just a test!!Please lady do you even have kids this test decides if they go on to the next grade these kids can do good all year long then take that test and fail and not be promoted!!I know i have six kids of my own and this new math they are doing this year is affecting not only the kids but i have heard many teachers say they are having a hard time teaching it!!So before you make comments liek that you really need to do your research!!Also i do know some teachers that put alot on the kids to pass the fcat to the point that it stresses them out there is a real problem with our school system and they need to fix it!!
  • by Scott Location: youngstown on Apr 14, 2011 at 06:59 PM
    You say if maybe only a test, but kids must pass it to go on to the next grade, forget of the grades they get the whole year. If it is just a test why don't the teachers take it to see how they do.
  • by S. on Apr 14, 2011 at 05:03 PM
    These kids are pushed hard to do well b/c teachers are expected to prepare them b/c their principals expect their school will score well b/c the district wants schools to make passing school grades b/c the state will determine how much money the district will get based on these scores (run-on sentence, I know). And considering teachers' pay is about to be based on students' test scores, don't think this is going to get any better. It's a Catch 22. I'm just glad they didn't have such high stakes when I was a child...and I turned out just fine! (in my opinion lol)
  • by Tom Location: eastern PA on Apr 14, 2011 at 02:48 PM
    Carla, criticism of high-stakes testing, largely for the reason (student anxiety) discussed in this fine article, have been in professional literature for years. To put it politely, you are out of step with professional literature on high-stakes testing
  • by Carla Location: Callway on Apr 14, 2011 at 01:59 PM
    It's not that serious. It's just a test! What else do we send kids to school for? If they don't learn enough through out the year to pass a simple test, then there's a problem. I'm so tired of society giving kids an excuse to fail and underachieve. *gets off soap box*
    • reply
      by Lola on Apr 14, 2011 at 03:46 PM in reply to Carla
      Carla, I agree 100%.
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