Putting Education Reform To The Test

The Secret Lives of Students: Learning ‘Tricks’ to Pass the FCAT

Breakthrough Miami

Asatta Mesa, 12, says teachers have taught her to read the FCAT questions before she reads the passage, so she can know where to look for the answers.

For today’s installment in our series, The Secret Lives of Students, we hear about tricks students have learned to pass the FCAT.

Editor’s note: This post was written by middle school student Asatta Mesa who is participating in the summer school program, Breakthrough Miami. 

By Asatta Mesa, 12

As a student in Florida, I’ve been taking the FCAT since the third grade.

I am now entering the eighth grade, meaning that I have spent five years and a countless number of months preparing and taking a test that will not help me gain any knowledge or help me for the future.

FCAT takes so much time away from the education of students.

You learn tricks just to pass a test and then never apply those tricks to living in society.

Such as reading the questions before the actual passage – to get some background knowledge on them, or to underline words in the text in order to refer to the underlined words while you are answering the questions.

When teachers have to set aside a month or two in order to do packets to practice for this one test, a lot of time is taken away from our schooling.

In the meantime, our minds could be enriched with information on history, culture, and things of that nature.

Also, if you fail the FCAT, the state automatically thinks that you learned nothing throughout the school year, and that you don’t care about your education.

Here’s the thing: Not everybody is a test taker, and everybody is on a different level when it comes to education.

That means that you can’t judge someone’s knowledge on one standardized test.

Overall, FCAT needs to be abolished because education is key to the success of our next generation. Students need to be able to go to school and achieve, without being limited by a test, to make our generation more prosperous than the one that we are currently living in.

Asatta is a rising 8th grade student at Young Women’s Preparatory Academy. During the summer school program with Breakthrough Miami, she attends the Miami County Day school campus. 

For the next month we’ll hear from students about life in Florida schools. They’ll open up about conflicting home and school rules on fighting, using technology in classrooms and other aspects of school life.


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