By Gabriel Selbig
With glum and melancholy feelings, the underclassmen of Homer High head into the annual testing week. For freshmen, this will be their seventh and final year taking the Standard Based Assessments. For sophomores, the High School Graduation Qualifying Exams may sound a little more worrisome. However, the majority of juniors and seniors happily welcome this school week, as they await the joyous occasion of sleeping-in a few extra hours on testing days.
Numerous 9th and 10th graders enthusiastically claimed the standardized tests to be “meaningless” or “lame”. “The worst part is sitting in that chair for three hours each morning”, declared sophomore, Tayla Cabana. “We don’t even get any class credit for all this.”
As half the school prepares to push through the three days of testing, language arts teacher, Mrs. Borland attempts to provide good reasoning for such exams. “It provides a good baseline”, she explains. “Everyone’s tests are measured in the same criteria. When teachers look back at the scores, we can see what needs to be emphasized in the classroom.”
But why are we tested only in reading, writing, and math when so many in the school thrive in vo-tech wing classes? With little hesitation, she enlightens, “My minor in college was ceramics. There’s a surprising amount of math involved in such a class. It’s just as if you’re in mechanics class, you have to read, write, and understand manuals.”
Both SBAs and HSGQEs measure the school’s adequate yearly progress along with students’ academic progress, but passing all three sections of the HSGQE is a requirement to receive a diploma. This well known fact has many sophomores running scared.
Sam Reinert, now in his junior year, describes the exams as “good to make sure you’re getting enough out of high school to function in the real world.” He went on to explain how the infamous SAT test is much more stiff and extensive, but holds greater significance. When asked how he felt about sleeping-in this week, he inhaled pompously and replied, “So stoked.”
With one more fine night of sleep left as preparation, the younger half of Homer High await three consecutive testing days. Many question why, while others simply dread, but the annual standardized tests do hold meaning for both student and school.