When a 4th Grader Shames School Board on Testing, the Only Reaction People Have is Standing Ovation.
This girl is definitely going places.
Sydney Smoot, a fourth grader at Brooksville Elementary in Florida, had some harsh words for the Hernando County School Board earlier this month on the state's restrictive standardized testing program.
She told the board:
“This testing looks at me as a number. One test defines me as either a failure or a success through a numbered rubric. One test at the end of the year that the teacher or myself will not even see the grade until after the school year is already over. I do not feel that all this FSA testing is accurate to tell how successful I am. It doesn't take in account all of my knowledge and abilities, just a small percentage.”
Smoot even provided the board with suggestions for how to make the testing process - known as The Florida Standards Assessment Test - more productive, such as breaking the larger test up into smaller, more frequent tests throughout the year.
“Why should we have so much stress about one test when we should be learning and having fun at school?” she asked.
It took a lot of guts for Smoot to address the school board, but - as she told Upworthy via email - she couldn't have done it without her mom's encouragement.
“What inspired me to speak all started one day when I came home. My mom asked me how the testing went, and I told her I was told not to speak about the test to anyone. I had not felt comfortable signing something in the test. I had concerns about this test because there was a lot of stress put on students and myself. I was a little nervous before the speech, but when I was called up to the podium, I did not feel nervous because I knew this speech was going to help a lot of people.”
Thank you, Sydney, for summing up what so many parents and schoolchildren are thinking about standardized tests.