Beyond Brown: Pursuing the Promise Image Strip of Linda Brown walking to school, girl taking test at desk, Nettie Hunt and daughter with newspaper headline on steps of Supreme Court, present day children raising hands, children at computers
Long Road to Brown
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Did you pass? High-Stakes Testing and Social Promotion

Genill takes the FCATAt 11 years old, Genill Prendergast is already on the verge of being labeled a failure. She's repeating third grade and if she doesn't pass a mandatory statewide test, she'll repeat it again. Genill is one of the 43,000 third-graders in Florida who failed the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, or FCAT, in 2003.

Ashley Johnson had earned a 3.0 average in high school and two scholarships to the University of West Florida where she hoped to study sports medicine. Then she was one of 12,000 in 2003 who failed the FCAT required for high school graduation. Ashley thought she was on her way to a bright future. Now she's working at a theme park near Orlando and scraping together the money for a course to teach her what she didn't get in high school. Children walking in front of school sign announcing FCAT dates

In place in a growing number of school districts across the country, including New York City, all-or-nothing standardized tests are shaping the lives of Genill Prendergast and Ashley Johnson along with millions of other school children.

Testing proponents argue that ending “social promotion” benefits students in the long run, and restores the value of a public school diploma. Opponents concede that
Children standing to get on a school bushigh-stakes tests measure the shortcomings of students, but argue that the school system, rather than individual students, should be held responsible.

In the spring of 2004, Genill Prendergast passed the FCAT. 45,000 other Florida third-graders did not.

The Florida Department of Education has published a pamphlet, Myths vs. Facts about the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. For this and other publications, visit:

The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest) opposes the use of high-stakes tests. The publication The Dangerous Consequences of High-Stakes Standardized Testing can be found here: Consequences.html

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