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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