Computerized testing disruptive, inefficient

Recently, Florida’s Department of Education computerized the FCAT math test. I had the “pleasure” of taking it, on the first day, and I was not impressed or happy about it. The test takes up too much time from regular schooling and also poses many possible technical difficulties that make the process more difficult.

Firstly, the test just takes up too much time. It spans over four school days and the test itself can take anywhere from 80 minutes to 160 minutes. Each student is tested on his or her designated day of the four days. While the test allows 160 minutes for completion, the majority of testers finished in about half that time, or a little more. However, many of them did not leave the testing site for a long while after that. Why? Because few wanted to go back to class. People were double-, triple-checking their work just to stay out of class a little longer. Teachers also put their teaching on hold so that students testing would not get behind. I found myself doing menial tasks during that four-day stretch.

Also, the possible technical difficulties make the test less efficient. Someone in my testing group had a slow computer. One of the loading screens was hanging for a long while, almost prompting the testing administrators to restart the program, which would have held up the testing for some minutes. The screen eventually loaded, but the glitch proved that technical difficulties are possible and could be a lot more devastating,. I mean, imagine what would happen in the event a power surge.

Basically, FCAT testing on computers is a bad idea. The negatives outweigh the positives. So, this experimental year was fun. Can we go back to the written math test now?

Tessa Arthur, sophomore