Central Fla. moms try their hand at 10th-grade FCAT

By Mike Holfeld, Problem Solver, mholfeld@clickorlando.com
Published On: Feb 24 2014 11:15:00 PM EST
Updated On: Feb 24 2014 11:42:43 PM EST

Standardized testing and learning standards take center stage in Tallahassee this week. Would you want your child to opt out of the test if that was an option?

ORLANDO, Fla. -

Central Florida students in fourth, eighth and 10th grade will take the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test Writes test Tuesday. It comes as the debate rages on over standardized tests and other big changes like Common Core.

So Local 6 wanted to know, could you pass, and would you have your kids opt out if it were an option?

Investigative reporter Mike Holfeld invited local moms to sit in the hot seat and experience the FCAT first hand. They played it by the book, surrendered electronic devices, sat and waited as time ticked to an end.

Then it was over.

"What did you think of the test," Holfeld asked one of the mothers.

"I don't ever want to take it again," she replied.

The results? No one passed both sections of the 10th-grade FCAT test.

Earlier this year, Orange County School Board's Rick Roach put some top male business leaders to the test using a six-question FCAT math exam. They didn't pass the test either.

Roach is featured in a documentary that raises concerns about the high stakes placed on standardized tests. Roach holds two masters degrees. He didn't pass either.

Following a screening of that film last month, State Sen. Darren Soto said he would support legislation that allows parents an opt-out option for their kids.

"If they believe this standardized system, this high stakes testing is failing our schools and inaccurate, then it's the parent's rights to be able to opt out," said Soto.

"They are an important metric on how our children are performing," said State Sen. David Simmons, who said our FCAT experiment is interesting, but in no way presents an argument to walk away from standardized tests.

That brings us back to our parents. Would they allow their kids to opt out?

"I probably would because I know he is extremely smart and I don't think he needs that test to prove that," said one local mom.

"I don't know that I would have them opt out. I don't think it's good to encourage them not to try something that's hard," said another.

There's a big debate now about standardized testing in the first place.

The House is debating two bills. One would allow parents of children with disabilities the chance to opt out of the testing. Another bill discusses the importance placed on these tests when it comes to graduating or being held back.

[WEB EXTRA: House Bill]

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