Surviving The FSA

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Photo: Ms. Toussaint, BA’s Testing Coordinator, Holding Up The FSA Administrator Manual

By Zechariah Hargrett

Hey Cobras, did you know that 9th and 10th graders have just taken various state-mandated FSA tests? Our testing coordinator, Ms. Touissant, did a fab job ensuring that our Super Testing days went as smoothly as possible. Yet, with so many tests and so little breathing time in between, some students have had difficulty  letting off that necessary steam after taking a test. As a result, getting through all these end-of-year requirements Рfrom the FSAs in reading and math, to the End of Course tests, is a real struggle.

A percentage of our students have learning disabilities, which means they require additional resources to aid them throughout all the testing. But how are they and others getting through the stress?  To calm those nerves, some of us are venting on social media or to our friends. Others pray before taking a test.

Tyler Stephen, a 9th grader, said that he “felt tired of the FSA math test and felt like it was kind of easy and hard at the same time.” Another, student Leonard Obeng, said he thought the test was “hard, complicated, and very confusing.”

Before 2018, students in grades 5th, 8th, 9th, and 10th showed improvements from the previous year of tests, according to state education figures. In 2018, however, only fifty-three percent of 10th graders passed their FSAs statewide. Though students are able to retake the Florida Standards Assessments, many of them continue to fail due to lack of resources and help.

Cobras, BA staff work hard to prepare us. But even so, we need more free tutorial programs for students in low-income neighborhoods who struggle so much on the Florida Standards Assessment each year. We also need concrete strategies to deal with test-related stress. One facet contributing to low FSA scores is the lack of support in students’ households. Many of us deal with a lot of stress at home. Our guardians are working two jobs and not often around. For some of us, this may translate into a lack of focus in the classroom and, consequently, low FSA scores.

Not that these life circumstances are excuses, but they are fact. So – more support to get through the tests, both academically and emotionally – is what we need for best results.