Standardized Boring Assessment on Conformity: Do SBAC tests matter?

Dylan Sawyer, Reporter

For one week every year in May, Freshman, Juniors and Seniors get the luxury of a string of two-and-a-half hour late starts. But, for the Sophomores, along with students who have not yet taken or passed the dreaded SBAC, have their mornings consumed by reading and math tests in which students are required to pass before they can graduate high school. Rather than judging students based on skills that they will use in the workforce like teamwork, people skills and critical thinking, students are given a score based on how much they know about polynomials and sentence structure.

Josh Kiley, a sophomore at Olympia, will be taking the SBAC test this spring. He said, “I’m starting to get a little nervous about taking the SBAC test pretty soon. The fact that you have to pass the test in order to graduate is a little scary.” Some students, while they may be very good in school, aren’t the best test takers, and so much pressure is put on performing well on this test that it can be a struggle for some students because it doesn’t incapture who they are as a student.

Keagan Heistand, a junior at OHS, took the SBAC last year and said, “I don’t really like the idea of these standardized tests. Teachers will teach based on the curriculum that is covered in the tests and because so much emphasis is put on doing well on this test, students will try to learn the material just to do well on the test rather than actually wanting to learn it because it will benefit them in the future.” This is a common theme among students regarding the SBAC test as well as other standardized tests that students. The test don’t measure how good of a student someone is or more importantly how good of a person someone is. They are a snapshot of someones education that really doesn’t benefit them in the future.

Every Monday, Mr. Stevick, a chemistry teacher here at Oly shows a video at the start of class called a Motivational Video Monday. Recently, Mr. Stevick showed a video about the modern day school system. The video called out schools for similar things that the students above are talking about, that schools put too much emphasis on standardized testing. The video also points out that students are all unique. Not every student learns the same way and not every student is interested in the same things. In most modern school systems, students are treated like robots, feeding them the same information in the same way. Students in Mr. Stevick’s second period reacted strongly. Chloe Gentry, a senior said, “The people making rules and regulations about school curriculum went to school decades ago and aren’t familiar with modern day schooling.”

With SBAC testing coming up, students are scrambling in their classes to try to learn last minute information to help them perform. But, is the SBAC test truly helpful to these students? Does it measure them effectively as students? Does it prepare them for the future? Because the betterment of the students is what school should be all about.