With the Common Core Assessments beginning in 2014, it makes good sense to have a moratorium on FCAT testing here in Florida. It is illogical to prepare our current ninth graders for the FCAT while at the same time prepare them for the Common Core. The FCAT and the Common Core Assessments are two very different tests. Teachers and students should be focussed on the higher-level thinking skills that the Common Core requires.
It is a waste of time, energy, and most importantly, student learning to continue the FCAT over the next few years. In Broward County, much of our school year is spent testing students; the acronyms are hard to keep track of--FCAT, BAT I, BAT II, PSAT, PERT, ASVAB, FAIR, ePAT, to name a few. Student learning suffers as a result. School days are chaotic and disjointed; curriculums are disrupted.
What students need most is consistency, stability, and sensible choices about their needs by thoughtful educators who pause to think through the implications of what their testing schedules are doing to our children. "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen, philosophers, and divines" (Emerson). Let's move beyond the "foolish" consistency of continuing the FCAT, and begin to think mindfully about the minds of our children. Illogical and disruptive testing schedules are harmful, not helpful. Our students deserve better.