May-only testing schedule causes concern

Purchasing the latest review books, sophomore John Luu readies himself for his upcoming AP exams set to start during the second week of May; however, unlike in years prior, Luu will have to balance his studying time with the state’s End of Course assessments and final exams, as they all occur within weeks.

In response to complaints of too much of the school year being spent on standardized testing, the Florida Legislature passed a bill last spring requiring that all standardized tests be administered during the last month of the school year, leaving West Shore and all other public school students and faculty preparing to adjust.

“I personally feel like the people who made the decision were stupid and brainless,” Luu said. “Testing shouldn’t be jam-packed into just one month.”

Luu’s frustrations arises from that fact that along with two AP exams, he now has to study for history and reading End of Course assessments simultaneously.

But student aren’t he only ones being forced to adapt.

“I think it is crazy here at a school like West Shore, where we are seventh through 12th, — which there are other combination schools in the district — but it makes it harder because we have to do all the middle-schoolers’ tests, all the high-school tests and put all the AP testing at the same time, and we virtually have every AP test.” School testing coordinator Mike Drake said. “It is very, very hard. This is going to be the first time we’ve ever done this.”

Drake has been preparing for this month for the entire school year.

“I have been working on the schedule all year and it is going to be insane,” Drake said. “There isn’t going to be a lot of wiggle room as far as makeups are concern.”

Likewise, teachers have been preparing students all year long for the month of May.

“As far as your FSA test or your End of Course exams like biology, history, civics, traditionally  all of those tests put West Shore at the top of the district because number one we have such good students and number two the teachers do such a good job of preparing them,” Drake said.

Students have many resources to help them prepare for FSA’s and EOCs.

“We just received from [Assistant Principal Glenn Webb] Webb some fliers that the social studies person from the district put together for the U.S history and the civics EOCs that have different places that parents can go and resources to help students prepare,” Drake said.

Drake said he believes students will do well with all of the testing done in the month of May.

“I think that the students will probably fair the best just because young adults are very resilient,”  Drake said. “Students here know that AP tests are coming.”

Sophomore Sasha Karlsson doesn’t think that having all the tests in May will be a good thing.

“I thought it was a good idea at first because then you don’t have to worry too much until May when all the tests are, but now I think it would be better if they were spread out,” Karlsson said.

Luu also has expressed concern.

“I’m taking AP Stats and AP Psych, which does not allow me much time to study for other tests,” he said. “High-schoolers take courses that require better timing than seven or more exams all in the span of a week.”

Sophomore Kishan Ramchandani shares the same annoyance, as he worries of stress accumulating among students.

“It feels good until the month of May comes around,” he said. “But then you are struggling to study for all of your tests and you are balancing so many things in the span of one month.”

Ramchandani recalls the schedule from years before, questioning the reason for such transition.

“I think they should’ve kept it the way it was,” he said. “It wasn’t as stressful on us, so I don’t really understand the point for changing it.”

In the end, students and faculty will all simply have to adjust to the new testing schedule.

“It is going to be different not only on the students but also on the staff because you think of all of the testing that has to be done in May and a lot of classes are multi-grade levels,” Drake said.

Students will have to balance missing classes due to taking FSAs and EOCs.

“It’s stressful to have one test after the other and it would probably be better if they were dispersed more,” Karlsson said.

Classes with different grade levels will feel the impact the most in the month of May.

“In multi-level classes it is even harder,” Drake said. “The classes where it is all seventh grade or all eighth grade are a little bit easier, but the bottom line is that we will get through it.  It is going to be difficult, but May is going to be a month where there is going to be less instruction going on than other months just because of all of the disruptions of testing.”

By Olivia Blackwell and By Julien Wakim