Columns

A Teacher's Tips for FCAT Confidence

By: Beth Smith | Posted: April 21, 2014 3:55 AM
Beth Smith

Beth Smith

Tests are tough. I am here to share some tips for you and your children to go through these FCAT weeks with confidence rather than fear.

I don’t want my students to be stressed out about the FCAT, and I am sure most teachers and parents would agree. Yes, tests are challenging – for the students and the teachers who have been working all year to get kids ready by teaching important standards.

But think of it this way: tests let us show what we know. Challenges come in many forms, and almost anything your child wants to be in the future, whether a doctor, teacher, astronaut, or sports figure, will require taking tests. These challenges are a part of life. And when we reach higher, we go further.

Kids, get some rest before the test. Dress in layers to adapt to different temperatures in the classroom. Wear something comfortable. Eat a healthy breakfast. Don’t panic when other students appear to be finished before you; there’s no reward for finishing first. Parents, it also helps to have something fun planned for after the test. Looking forward to a trip to the movies, the park or a fun dinner can be a great motivator for staying positive. And really, when it comes down to it, that's what childhood is all about: preparing, learning, and enjoying the time for all that it should be!

Remember, these tests have no impact on your child's grades or report card. Only in third- and 10th-grade is the FCAT used in promotion/graduation decisions, but even then, the state recognizes that one test on one day should not be the sole factor in retaining a student, so there are options provided such as retakes, alternative assessments, or – for third-graders – portfolio submissions.

We test our children because we want to make sure they are doing well and progressing toward established academic benchmarks and standards. The tests help all of us – teachers, parents and school leaders – know if a student is struggling so we can do something about it.

Without measuring, we cannot ensure that students are truly gaining a year's worth of learning in a year's time. Without measuring, we cannot prevent students from "falling through the cracks." Now get out there and show what you know! Best of luck, everyone.



Beth Smith, with 13 years of teaching experience, is assistant principal of Valleyview Elementary School in Lakeland.
 


Comments (7)

just a mom
6:34AM APR 23RD 2014
Your writer is mistaken. I am surprised since her bio states that she is a principal! FCAT determines promotion in grades 3-5. In grades 4 and 5 students must pass both the reading and math. Yes, there are alternate assessments at all grade levels. It also is used to determine school grades and teacher evaluations, so saying it is just "one day" makes me laugh! Ask a teacher whose job depends on how seriously a nine your old takes that day if it is important!
the Common Core Police
10:58AM APR 22ND 2014
Breaking News - Marietta, Georgia parents were shocked when they were confronted by police as they walked on to their child’s school campus for a meeting with the principal. Why would police force be needed in a meeting with a pair of concerned parents? According to the police officer it was because “they were considered to be “potentially trespassing” on school property because they were in opposition to the normal school process.” The process they were opposed to was Common Core testing.

Even in the Georgia, parents can’t get away from the far reaching grasp of the federal government and their education standards.

Tracy and Mary Finney, whose children attend West Side Elementary School, have decided to opt their children out of the state mandated testing. The test has been given in Georgia for years and is called the CRCT. This year is the last year the test will be given, but many parents don’t believe it’s a fair measure of what their child has learned because the state has aligned to the Common Core, and the test was not written with the Common Core in mind. It is with those thoughts in mind that the Finney’s chose to opt their children out of testing – and that should have been the end of it. But of course, it wasn’t…. the Gestapo stepped in!
NY Corporate Common Core Testing
11:23AM APR 22ND 2014
04/22/2014 - Mandatory Common Core tests in New York just happen to be full of corporate brand names.

Across the state of New York, this year’s Common Core English tests have reportedly featured a slew of brand-name products including iPod, Barbie, Mug Root Beer and Life Savers. For [filtered word], the tests even conveniently included the shoe company’s ubiquitous slogan: “Just Do It.”
The brands – and apparently even some of their familiar trademark symbols – appeared in tests questions for students ranging from third to eighth grades, reports The Post-Standard of Syracuse. Over one million students were required to take the tests.

Parents, teachers and school administrators have speculated that the kid-friendly brand names are a new form of product placement.
Education materials behemoth Pearson, which has a $32 million five-year contract to develop New York’s Common Core-related tests, has barred teachers and school officials from disclosing the contents of the tests.

Students and parents are not so barred, though, and many have complained.
“‘Why are they trying to sell me something during the test?’” Long Island mother Deborah Poppe quoted her son as saying, according to Fox News. “He’s bright enough to realize that it was almost like a commercial.”

Poppe said her eighth-grade son was talking about a question about a busboy who didn’t clean up a root beer spill. It wasn’t just any root beer, though. No sir! It was Mug Root Beer, a registered trademark of PepsiCo (current market cap: $129.7 billion).

Another question about the value of taking risks featured the now-hackneyed [filtered word] slogan “Just Do It.”

“I’m sure they could have used a historical figure who took risks and invented things,” observed displeased dad Sam Pirozzolo, also of Staten Island, according to the Daily Mail. “I’m sure they could have found something other than [filtered word] to express their point.”

Pirozzolo has a child in fifth grade.

[filtered word], one of America’s best known and most heavily advertised companies, boasts a current market cap of $65.01 billion.

A number of baffled and angry New York teachers have anonymously complained about the branding and much else on blogs and websites. (RELATED: Think Common Core class material is bad? Check out the unbelievably AWFUL standardized tests)

Representatives from the New York State Education Department have flatly denied involvement in any novel marketing agreements.
“There are no product placement deals between us, Pearson or anyone else,” Tom Dunn, an Education Department spokesman, told Fox News. “No deals. No money. We use authentic texts. If the author chose to use a brand name in the original, we don’t edit.”

To the credit of Pearson and the named companies, it does seem like an unusually stupid move—even for greedy brand managers.
here's a thought
5:00PM APR 21ST 2014
Let Jeb Bush and his New World Order CC and Charter School privatizing friends take FCAT, CC and their public school destruction plans and put them where the sun don't shine.

This is nothing less than massive kidnapping of America's youth by a bunch of organized criminals.
Frank
8:33PM APR 21ST 2014
Written like a true immature conspiracy tin hatter . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
Really
7:37AM APR 22ND 2014
Frank,

You and your Nazi buddies ought to know a "conspiracy theorist" when you see one, after all you are the ones that invented that category.

"conspiracy theorist" is anyone who dares to tell the truth about the organized destruction of the USA by the elites in the New World Order.

Starting with Bush (41) Mr New World Order himself. He could not make a speech without mentioning the New World Order. That is why tObama is Teleprompter trained - can't take a chance on mentioning that again.
Frank
7:13PM APR 22ND 2014
Obviously, someone whose education, conversational skills, and grasp of reality leaves more than a little to be desired . . . . . . . . sigh . . . . . . . this SSN site certainly attracts those for whom facts don't matter, vicious name calling is the norm, and intelligence appears suspect . . . . . . . . sigh . . . . . . . and you probably believe women can control their bodies to prevent pregnancy from a rape, that Obama's a Muslim terrorist, that climate change is the biggest scientific hoax since Galileo Galilei stated the earth is not the center of the universe, and that the UN is taking over the sovereignty of Florida through Agenda 21, correct . . . . .

Pathetic . . . . .

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