A 9-year-old girl passionately spoke out against standardized testing in Florida elementary schools.

Sydney Smoot said at a recent Hernando County School Board meeting that the Florida Standards Assessment Test, FSA for short, looks at students as numbers.

The fourth-grader argued that the new test doesn't accurately measure students' abilities and is stressful for no good reason.

"My opinion is that we should take a test at the beginning of the year, middle and end of the school year to accurately measure what we know," Sydney suggested.

Sydney’s mother, Jennifer Smoot, said she helped her daughter write the emotional speech, which drew a standing ovation, but the 9-year-old wrote most of it.

Watch the speech and read a transcript of Sydney's remarks below.


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... I consider myself a well-educated young lady. However with FSA tests, my five years of school …do not matter. This testing looks at me as a number. One test defines me as either a failure or a success through a numbered rubric. One test at the end of the year that the teacher or myself will not be able to see the grade until the school year is already over. I do not think all this FSA testing is accurate to tell how successful I am. It doesn’t take into account all of my knowledge and abilities, just a small percentage.

Here are my concerns. First of all, I do not feel good about a form on the FSA that you have to sign assuring that you can’t even discuss the test with your parents. I am not comfortable signing something like this. I have the right to talk to my parents about any and everything related to school and my education.

Second, why am I being forced to take a test that hasn’t even been tested on students here in Florida? So how can it be accurate and valid on what I know? Why are we taking most of the year stressing and prepping for one test at the end of the year when we should be taking tests throughout the year that really measure our ability? My opinion is that we should take a test at the beginning of the year, middle and end of the school year to accurately measure what we know.

Third, the stress and pressure that this testing puts on me and I’m sure most students is not healthy. Why should we have so much stress about one test when we should be learning and having fun in school. With all this testing in school, more fun things in school such as recess are being eliminated because of all the training for the test.


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