JISHOU, HUNAN — Here’s a novel idea. A very well educated school board member in Orange County, Florida, took his state’s mandatory assessment test, which tests reading, math, science and writing, and he did very poorly. So, he wonders, how valid are those tests, really?
The board member, Rick Roach, is no dummy. He has two master’s degrees in education and educational psychology, and he’s working on a doctorate. He’s trained 18,000 teachers in 25 states, and served on his school board for four terms.
But his reading score on a version of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test was 62%, which would have sent him to remediation classes. On the math part, he guessed on all 60 questions, getting only 10 right.
In an email to education critic Marion Brady, Roach wrote:
It might be argued that I’ve been out of school too long, that if I’d actually been in the 10th grade prior to taking the test, the material would have been fresh. But doesn’t that miss the point? A test that can determine a student’s future life chances should surely relate in some practical way to the requirements of life. I can’t see how that could possibly be true of the test I took.
Roach went on to note how his life would have much different had he been required to take the FCAT in high school, and done as poorly as he did now.
If I’d been required to take those two tests when I was a 10th grader, my life would almost certainly have been very different. I’d have been told I wasn’t ‘college material,’ would probably have believed it, and looked for work appropriate for the level of ability that the test said I had.
It makes no sense to me that a test with the potential for shaping a student’s