State Assessments Continue Despite Pandemic

Zara Thomas

Despite the differences in schooling this year, one thing that was still able to happen was standardized tests. And to many students’ delight–not. 

Juniors took their science state assessments April 7-8, and sophomores took their Math and English assessments April 14-15 and April 21-22, respectively. Students who were unable to take their tests on their assigned days due to extracurricular activities were able to take them on a later date. 

Students and staff alike disagreed with the decision to carry on with the tests, mainly because of the weird school year.

“This year, I don’t think (state testing) should be a thing, because of Covid, and because of the fact that we haven’t been able to be properly prepared or any of that due to the learning restrictions that we currently have.” said sophomore Clayton Griswold. “It’ll show that we haven’t learned as much as we would normally because of the pandemic.”`

It’s not just students who think this either. Spanish and Reality 101 teacher Carrie Sharpe agreed with Griswold.

“I’m not a fan of standardized assessments, especially this year, in this craziness where we have a short time and have to give up time to do things,” Sharpe said. “But I understand it is a federal mandate and we get federal funding and state funding.”

Many people, however, don’t like standardized testing at all, and wouldn’t want to take them even during a normal school year. 

“I don’t know if you’ve seen it, it’s a picture of a lion, a dog, a snake, and a bear and they’re all told to climb a tree. But they’re all different animals, and they have different (skills) so they can’t all climb the tree,” sophomore Mia Starnes said. “So we’re all given this standardized test. We’re told to take it and take it the same, but we’re not all the same and some of us don’t do well here or here.”

Students didn’t have to take standardized tests last year because the school year was cut short, so some are anxious about taking them this year after not having taken them for so long. 

“It feels foreign after not having to do it last year and I’m feeling kind of stressed about it,” said junior Trenton Whitney. 

Because of the tests, bell schedules also had to be altered for a few weeks in April. For example, for three Mondays in a row, fourth block ended at 3:10, and there was no homeroom for the day. On testing days, fourth block was shortened and homeroom was extended to make time for assessments. 

“What (administration is) doing is what they think is right, so I am really just rolling with it.” junior Hannah Hessman said.

Like Hessman, students mostly feel indifferent about this, but teachers feel it affects the use of their class time. 

“It was really hard (with the tests) being in the first week of the new term. So my block four class had that extra time Monday but we did one extra thing, and they’re going to lose out on time (on testing days), so they are going to miss out on all the fun,” Sharpe said.