Standardized Testing Switch Up

Many+Students+agree+that+standardized+tests+should+be+administered+on+weekdays+rather+then+weekends.+Avery+Coffee%2C+freshman%2C+said+%E2%80%9CWeekends+should+be+dedicated+to+relaxing+as+well+as+hanging+out+with+family+and+friend.%E2%80%9D

Many Students agree that standardized tests should be administered on weekdays rather then weekends. Avery Coffee, freshman, said “Weekends should be dedicated to relaxing as well as hanging out with family and friend.”

Caroline Simon, Staff Writer

State High took the PSAT on October 10th. This was the first year SCASD required testing during the school day for freshmen,  juniors and some sophomores. The PSAT is a standardized test that is administered by the College Board and co-sponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. In the United States, approximately 3.5 million students take the test each year. The scores from these tests are used to determine eligibility for the National Merit Scholarship Program. The PSAT consisted of four sections: two math, one critical reading, and one writing skills section. This test has been given every year since 1971. It was primarily taken on Saturdays but more recently has been administered on Wednesdays, which is what our school participated in this year. Our school runs on an A-B day schedule that is in sync with the two local middle schools. The PSAT took a day of our A-B schedule, because of this, we had all eight blocks on Thursday. Classes were rushed with limited time for work and activities because of the compressed schedule. Jocelin Kinsey, freshman, said “My teachers didn’t have time to complete constructive activities on Thursday because we only had 40 minutes in each class.”

Requiring the PSAT for freshman and juniors is a good idea even though it resulted in a rushed schedule. It gives all students, who would like to take the test, an opportunity to do so. Weekday testing gives students freedom to complete schoolwork and build bonds with family and friends on Saturday. This also gives them the opportunity to participate in the test even if they didn’t have transportation to the testing center. It also eliminates any financial concerns that may be found if students where required to pay to participate in the PSAT. The only students who were required to pay were sophomores if they chose to take the test. If a sophomore chose not to take the test, they were given the opportunity to volunteer at one of the SCASD elementary schools to help earn community service for graduation. A field day including team building events and athletic activities was planned for seniors. Having all our classes on the Thursday after was the one negative thing about testing on a Wednesday. Kinsey said “going from class to class was rushed because our schedules are spaced out.” The positives of testing on a weekday definitely outweigh the one negative.

Mr. Ruocchio, a ninth grade science teacher at SCASD, believes that “it was beneficial to have students take the PSAT during the school day.” Mr. Ruocchio agreed that the test had benefited every student and had their best interest in mind. Mr. Ruocchio said “Students who may have never gotten the opportunity to take the PSAT, either due to finances, time, transportation, etc., had the opportunity to take the test.  This is just one way to close the opportunity gap that exists with different populations of students. For those students who were going to take the PSAT anyway, this did no harm to those students, and I would argue made it even or convenient for those students did not have to sign up for the test, pay for it, arrange transportation, etc.  Even though there are students who do not desire to take the PSAT since they are not planning to attend a post-secondary school, seeing the test does no harm to those students, and may in fact help them better decide their post-high school plans (and I would argue that 9th graders should not be making such decisions since much can happen to influence the path of a student form 9th grade to graduation).”

Taking the PSAT during the school day helps to resolve any conflicts that may have occurred with weekend test taking and is a more efficient way to administer the test.

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