Beginning next week, Bay District students in grades 3rd through 10th will begin taking the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.
For some students, like 10th grader Alex Brooks, the standardized testing doesn't end there. On top of the usual state required assessments, Brooks take's advanced placement courses and is dual enrolled.
"It get to be a lot, especially in the tenth grade with the rigorous schedule. The classes are manageable, but you just have to study hard because everything will come up at once," says Brooks.
While she keeps up with her studies throughout the year, in the next month and a half, Brooks will have to juggle the FCAT reading exam, her biology End of Course test, two AP exams, and her dual enrollment finals...on top of regular finals.
"It's definitely overwhelming especially with seven classes this year. Last year with four classes, it was manageable. You could space out your study time and use your time wisely. This year, it's a lot harder to manage with seven classes," says Brooks.
Exams like the FCAT and the EOC's are required by the state. They are high stakes exams that make there difference between getting credit for a course or not or even moving to the next grade level or not. The question is, is the standardized testing becoming too intense?
"I believe the state is trying to hold the students accountable for learning and teachers for teaching, which I'm not necessarily against. However, I think we've reached a threshold of just craziness," says Camilla Hudson, coordinator of assessment and accountability for Bay District Schools. "Our students are doing a good job. They're learning, but I think at some level when you look at the amount of assessments that a student may be taking, the stress level is very high."
With standardized testing affecting a teachers evaluation, these exams affect instructors and their time.
"When the school shuts down for a half a day so these students can test on a computer, it's lost instructional time," says Sandy Harrison, principal of Mosley High School.
Camilla Hudson says most of these exams, like FCAT and EOC's, are state mandated, and parents who have concerns should voice their opinions to our state legislators.