As written about in the article on page one, the state will have a new accountability model where all juniors will be required to take the ACT for free next semester.
First of all, we do not believe that part of our school’s rating should be based off of a single standardized test that one class takes. Both the SAT and ACT aren’t entirely designed to assess what you know. They are full of questions that can be answered simply by knowing test-taking strategies learned through prep classes. How does that measure the performance of the school as a whole? It doesn’t. It is an assessment of an individual’s ability to take a standardized test
EOCs, which will now only account for 30 percent of the school’s rating, measure students who have been sitting in classrooms, learning the material from Northwood teachers for 90 days. Not only do EOCs measure student learning, but they also measure the teacher’s ability to communicate the material to their students. EOCs are a much better evaluation of the school as a whole than the ACT.
Second of all, juniors are already extremely busy. Most of them are taking the initiative to prepare for college and challenge themselves with their curriculum. Juniors are all required to complete the Charger Challenge, and now on top of all of that, they are required to take the ACT.
We do realize that this is an opportunity for students to take a test for college applications free of charge, but what about those students who don’t care about their college acceptance or want to go directly into the workforce? Not only will this test not benefit those students, but we believe that it may also poorly reflect our school. If you require a student to take a standardized test that they have not been properly prepared for and will not personally benefit them, they tend not to care. We worry about the students who bubble in random answers. Those students now weigh into 30 percent of our school’s reputation.
Finally, we worry that this new ACT program will take away from class time. In addition to missing a day to take the test, we feel that teachers will be inclined to teach ACT strategies instead of teaching material that is beneficial to their course curriculum.
Instead of requiring students to take the ACT, we think that the state should give students the option to take the ACT. Those students who believe that the ACT will benefit them can still take the test for free, but you eliminate wasting money on the students who don’t care.
With some colleges turning away from tests like the ACT and SAT, it’s not fair to measure our school based on a single standardized test. Having the ACT as an option, not a requirement, would allow EOCs to count towards our schools’ reputation and measure our performance. They are a much more fair representation of the school as a whole instead of the individuals within our student body.