Thoughts on the Controversial Topic of the FSA


Students getting seated to take the Algebra 1 EOC

Angelina Lin and Elizabeth Xiao

As the school year is beginning to wrap up, FSA testing is just beginning. The month of May starts weekly EOCs and FSA exams for everyone. Students agree that this is the time to study extra and prepare, but they have different opinions when it comes to taking the actual test.


During the pandemic, students had the choice of in-person learning or E-learning, and the majority of students have chosen to learn from home, through Microsoft Teams. These distance learning classes have definitely caused some changed in learning throughout the school year. Students have been prepping all year for standardized tests, but some students are concerned that standardized testing is not the way to go.


“The virtual learning environment has caused a downgrade in our learning experience,” says Sophia Wu, a 7th grade student. “Going back to school to take tests is not the best solution. Instead, our academic futures should rely on our grades, and our work over a long period of time. This way, we won’t be as likely to be stressed over standardized testing.”


Students have already finished the FSA ELA Test for all grades, with 6th, 7th, and 8th grade coming to Falcon Cove. Students with last names beginning with A-L came on Monday and Tuesday for Sessions 1 and 2, and last names starting withM-Z came on Wednesday and Thursday. But some students are concerned about health risks that come along with testing.


“With the number of students at our school, even with just having half of the school testing, people are definitely less likely to follow social distancing guidelines.” 7th grader Charles Russo says. “Because this year the FSA doesn’t count towards advancing grades, I just don’t think the health risks are worth it.”


Students and teachers also often have contrasting opinions on school matters. This year, many teachers are responsible for proctoring tests for their first period students, and some are even responsible for prepping their students for standardized tests. This induces different impressions about the testing experience.


“I’m not a huge fan of standardized testing like the FSA, but I think it will be interesting to see the scores this year because it should show us if there were actual learning losses or gains due to E-Learning and Covid.” says Speech and Debate teacher Jennifer Dailey. “It will also give teachers an idea of what skills need to be addressed next year to get students up to speed.”


Many teachers have the same view and opinion on standardized tests, even ones who don’t have to prep students for tests and ones who do. The main opinion from teachers about testing is that it is a good evaluation of how well students learned this year through E-learning.


“Whether we agree with state testing or not, it has its purposes for accountability and for properly identifying students who need extra support. Throughout this pandemic, many students have had disadvantages in learning and sadly, this years test data will most likely emphasize that.” says Algebra 1 teacher, Kami McLaughlin. “I am glad that the state relaxed some of the implications of the scores, so we can use the data purely to help students.”


Just like previous years, students will be taking a variety of tests based on the classes they take, from the Math FSA to Biology EOCs. However, testing this year is not mandatory, and many students have considered exempting. This matter has sparked controversy between those coming to school and the students who choose to stay at home.


“Taking standardized tests are important for future successes in high school because it affects the placement of classes in high school,” says 8th grader Siyan Ding, who does not believe in exemption from exams. “Even though colleges don’t look at middle school testing scores, these results are the foundation for better grades in the future.”