Fourth Grader Masterfully Picks Apart Standardized Tests

Who better to stand up and denounce the concept of standardized tests than someone who is acutely aware of  the day-to-day negative impact?  Sydney Smoot is a 4th grader in Hernando County, Florida.  As you will discover in a moment, she is an eloquent 9-year old.  Sydney delivered a succinct and powerful message to the school board about what she felt were the negative consequences of standardized tests.  Here in Florida, we are not taking the “Common Core” test, but the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) which closely mimics the federal standards.  The FSA was not tested here in Florida, but on students in Utah.  Of course, officials spared no expense as this cost taxpayers nearly a quarter of a billion dollars.

Sydney Smoot attacks the concept of standardized tests; that one single test on one single day is an accurate reflection of student academic growth and teacher competence.  She also points out the crushing pressure that administrators, teachers and students are subjected to as they are forced through curriculum that shoves aside traditional learning for a ‘teach-to-the-test’ lessons.

Let’s take a closer look at the article where you can find the video link to Sydney’s speech- 9-year old destroys Florida’s new standardized test in front of school board.

Meet Sydney Smoot, a 9-year-old fourth grader in Hernando County, Fla., who has more confidence than many adults. Smoot wrote (with help from her mom) and powerfully delivered (all by herself) a speech about Florida’s new standardized test, the FSA, or Florida Standards Assessment that drew loud applause from the audience.

As you can guess, Sydney Smoot isn’t happy with having to take the FSA, the state-mandated assessment Florida paid a private company to create in place of a Common Core test the state was originally planning to give until it dropped the Common Core State Standards. A new set of standards was created for Florida, though many say they are remarkably similar to the Core. The new Florida Standards Assessment was developed, under a six-year $220 million contract let by the state, to the American Institutes for Research. The organization did not field-test the new Florida test in Florida, but rather in Utah, where it had another testing contract.

She says that the test doesn’t measure her abilities and is stressful for no good reason — and she told that to the Hernando County School Board last month, displaying a remarkable presence for someone her age.

The short video, which is worth watching, is above, and below is the transcript. According to Bay News 9, Sydney’s mother, Jennifer Smoot, said she helped her daughter with the speech but the 9-year-old wrote most of it.

Leave it to a fourth-grader to state her case better than most adults.

-Gabriel Diaz


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