In February at last count for my high school, 17,643 benchmark tests, end-of-course exams (EOC) and reading retake exams were administered. This number averages to about 5.9 per student I double-checked my math. This number indicates that a little over a week of instructional time was lost, was devoted to high-stakes testing or the preparation of high stakes testing via a test, not actual instruction. Some of these exams were state-mandated and some were district-mandated. District-mandated tests here are given over 2 days each nine weeks for biology, algebra I, and geometry to monitor students' progress toward the EOC that they will actually take in May. The 17,643 tests administered at my school does not include common assessments that are learning community mandated and are created\ used by the professional learning community to monitor students' progress, probably the most useful part of the testing machine since they are teacher-made in most cases. I also haven't included the reading progress monitoring tests such as the state-mandated FAIR and district mandated SRI and lexile sets. I just haven't finished counting.
In Florida, SB 736 mandates that every student including those in kindergarten starting next year will be tested in every single subject including their once-a-week media center class if a certified instructor is teaching it. This law is part of the revised teacher evaluation system. I am afraid to begin counting the cumulative number of tests that a child entering Florida public schools in fall 2014 will encounter.
In the upcoming weeks, every single student, 2,990 at my school, will take one or more high-stakes test as we truly dive into what was formally known as the fourth nine weeks. Most students, depending on their schedule, will lose more than a week of instruction to testing this year. The most school-dependent such as my English language learners in tenth grade have already lost 5 weeks of instruction due to testing. As an educator, I cannot rely on unions to do right by my students. As a parent, I cannot rely on the school system to do right by my child. As a citizen, I cannot rely on the legislators to do right by the American school system. I can use my words. I must use my words. What will you do?