EARTH — With the 80th anniversary of the Federation Achievement Assessment, some now are questioning the usefulness of the standardized test taken by billions of Federation children.
Created by the Federation Curriculum and Assessment Authority, the Federation Achievement Assessment (FAA) is described by its creators as “simply” a general achievement test that lasts a maximum of five hours long and involves two written tasks and 100 multiple choice questions, assessing students’ general knowledge and skills in written communication, mathematics, science, technology, the arts, and social sciences. The FAA is included in the derived scores for university entry assessment processes, though not directly. The test is also used frequently in individual school assessment and has been described as an “insurance policy” for students.
Students will participate in the required assessment this time next week, and while not all schools in the Federation participate in the FAA testing program, 70% are involved in the testing and subsequent scoring.
Despite the test’s longevity, concerns parents and teachers alike have about the FAA seem to be growing in scale to when it was first introduced eighty years ago.
“We’re using an outdated scoring system. Bajoran schools who have only just involved themselves in the Federation’s education system wouldn’t even know where to start,” says council member Barshek Veiar of the Bolian Plus Education schools. “We’re far past actually using it to determine entry to additional learning.”
Even students in schools that have been participating since the test’s creation are intimidated by the testing.
“The two weeks leading up to the FAA are when schools finally kick into gear and start putting pressure on students to study for something we normally know nothing about,” said student Tera Walters, a native of Earth’s Australian continent. “I’ve had older siblings go nuts going through their textbooks only to come home from it crying that nothing they studied for was even in it. Even this week, my own school keeps going on about studying and studying hard, but none of us have any idea where to start.”
The ambiguity of the FAA topics has indeed been cause for question. Official FAA material states, “The general knowledge and skills that are tested are those students have built up through their previous study in Federation Standard, mathematics, science and social science. Each question provides all the information needed to work out the right answer.”
The material then directs readers to view prior FAAs, which, upon further examination by the FNS, often have no linking line of written topics, only ever share similar questions for mathematics, and never do official materials for the FAA provide areas for which to study, which often leaves teachers flabbergasted. A budding psychology student may receive only one question vaguely to do with psychology out of the hundred they must complete.
“We are assessing a broad range of our students on subjects they likely know very little about,” said education reform activist Dr. Janice Everton. “Simply put, the FAA does not suit new Federation member species, deterring especially schools that have only recently adopted Federation Standard classes to their curriculum and don’t have a large enough majority of students fluent in the language.”
In response to this particular point, the FCAA have put a recommendation forward suggesting that schools new to the system should wait approximately seven years after joining the initiative before “submitting to the FAA.” In fact, the number of schools participating in testing dropped a marginal 300 since last year, far short of what many critics of the test have called for.
“If the FAA isn’t acting as the desired ‘student insurance policy’ it was touted to be when introduced eighty years ago,” said Dr. Everton, “Shouldn’t it either be updated, or scrapped completely?”
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