Standardized testing, along with written assessments, is commonplace in the public school system. Regardless of the courses a student takes, individuals tend to begin standardized testing during their elementary school years and it doesn’t disappear until one has completed their education.
In the Sunshine State, students are required to take Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) exams for various subjects. In order to graduate high school, students are required to pass the 10th grade reading FSA, as well as the Algebra I EOC, the Geometry EOC and the Biology EOC.
The FSA has weight on high school academics, but how does it impact your future?
The FSA tends to measure a student’s knowledge in terms of the content they have learned. However, colleges don’t require students to be tested on the content they’ve learned, but by the skills they have acquired.
Colleges and universities look at these test scores in order to determine which students qualify to attend their school.
The SAT, originally referred to as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, was first administered in 1926 and has since been used to determine a student’s ability to succeed in college. The exam is generally administered in a student’s junior year of high school and may be administered up until the beginning of senior year.
Ultimately, colleges and universities look at these test scores in order to determine which students qualify to attend their school and whether admitted students are deserving of scholarships. Of course, all institutions take a look at a student’s entire application which provides a look at their grades and extracurricular involvement, yet, the SAT is seen as an aptitude test that measures a student’s ability to think or problem solve.
The Preliminary SAT or the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) is a test that students generally take in their freshman and sophomore year. Not only is it a means of practicing the skills required for the SAT, but it is also a way to acquire scholarship money should you score high enough.
Students and teachers spend hours upon hours reviewing for FSA exams and EOCs that will ultimately be viewed as yet another final exam grade. Writing camps and algebra reviews are set up in order to ensure that students will be capable of passing their exams. But, what if students were able to shift their focus to a test of greater worth?
The SAT is not necessarily a measure of how intelligent you are, but a measure of how well you take a certain type of test.
Taking the PSAT, for example, would allow students the ability to not only review for the SAT but potentially work toward gaining scholarship money. If teachers were to spend more time on SAT prep rather than on FSA prep, it would be probable that students would do significantly better on the SAT than in previous years.
Teachers could have their students acquire an SAT prep book and have them complete certain sections of practice exams for homework. This would ensure that students were working on strengthening their understanding of the test while also completing work for the course itself.
The SAT is also one of the most frustrating parts of the college process. Without proper guidance, many high schoolers feel that they lack a firm understanding of how to take the test. The SAT is not necessarily a measure of how intelligent you are, but a measure of how well you take a certain type of test.
If students are presented with the opportunity to spend more time learning about the way the SAT works, they are more likely to succeed when they have to take the test.
Replacing the FSA with the PSAT would benefit students in the sense that it removes yet another testing format from the minds of students and allows teachers to reinforce a particularly important manner of testing that may determine the future of a student.
Photo by Cassie Hartmann