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The funny thing about testing in school is that all it truly does is show the understanding an individual has about a certain subject at a certain time. Their understanding can change drastically in following months, yet the test score, a snapshot of one moment in time, is typically all that matters.

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We then go on to judge people by their grades under the illusion that it illustrates their knowledge and qualifications. The sad part is not only how limiting this model is, but also how much students stress over such results and judgments. Some even go so far as to feel their lives will be ruined simply because their grades are bad. Students become disheartened and frustrated with themselves, think they are not smart or capable, and even veer away from what they are passionate about — all because of a test score.

What if we all learn differently? What if testing doesn’t really show our understanding of a subject, and what if there were better ways of evaluating and teaching individuals? Thankfully, these types of questions are being asked in a big way these days, as the need to reevaluate our education system has become a hot topic, and for good reason — it isn’t effective.

A Challenge From a Fourth-Grader

Fourth-grader Sydney Smoot has taken a bold stand against Common Core, and her words have captured the attention of many adults. The young student from Brooksville Elementary in Florida shared her powerful words about the dangerous impact that state standardized testing is having on students.

“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 even see the grade until after the school year is already over. I do not feel that all this FSA testing is accurate to tell how successful I am. It doesn’t take in account all of my knowledge and abilities — just a small percentage.”

She went on to ask a very important question:

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“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 valid and accurate on what I know?”

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