EOC exam schedule raises concerns

New computer-based End of Course Assessments caused controversy this month, as students were required to take their exams up to five weeks before courses ended. Due to a shortage of computers, students were absent from scheduled classes to take the tests in geometry, biology, and U.S. history on dates ranging from April through May.

“I really dislike the EOCs,” sophomore Krishna Davda said, echoing a position popular with students. “They’re so early in the year, when it’s supposed to be an end-of-year test. It should be a week before school ends, not five.”

The test dates caused concern for teachers, who had not yet finished teaching material to students.

“It was [a challenge], yes,” geometry teacher Annie Nery said. “The geometry kids took the test about a month before the end of school. We covered about two chapters after the EOC. We had to do sort of a crash course right before the test.”

The Florida Department of Education installed the new tests as a transition from traditional FACT assessments. Each test will be worth 30 percent of a student’s final grade in that subject, and a student must retake a course if they fail to pass its EOC exam.

Freshman Grace Otten expressed displeasure with the EOC adding to her heavy exam load in the final month of the school year.

“[The EOC] wasn’t terrible, but it was too long,” she said. “It’s pointless because we don’t just have the EOC, but [also] the FCAT and semester exams.”

The EOC tests also caused headaches for teachers of other courses.

“I never have a full class when there are EOCs going on,” journalism teacher Mark Schledorn said. “It’s tough because [Journalism 1 is] a production class. I’m starting my semester exam review early because I never know who has learned what.”

The timing of the tests had many students worried about their preparedness.

“We haven’t learned everything we were supposed to yet, especially in biology,” freshman Amanda Moscrip said. “I would have made the test closer to the end of the year.”

By Meaghan Pickles