Aside from heralding the beginning of spring, April is the harbinger of the Smarter Balanced assessments.
Sophomores are tested in biology and juniors in English. This is part of the results of the No Child Left Behind Act, which passed in Congress and was signed into law by President George W. Bush. It requires states to test students each year in math and reading in grades three to eight and again in high school. Schools receive some funding for administering the Smarter Balanced test.
“I think that it’s not really necessary, and I don’t really understand why the school holds the life science test for sophomores when we are taught that as a freshmen,” said sophomore Andrew Joo. “I can see why the school would want to do it since they receive funding, but the biology test doesn’t matter in the long term at all.”
Others agree that the testing felt really out of place.
“It felt like any other test, but less relevant since it doesn’t count for a grade,” said sophomore Timothy Chan. “However, I do like how the block schedule gives us a short Friday. The schedule gets weird, but at least Friday gets another reason to look forward to it.”
Even some faculty think the block scheduling for four days on top of the test that takes a full period can cause some tumult in classes.
“The Smarter Balanced test can really mess up class periods,” said math teacher Laura Robeck. “I have to send out freshmen in my class and then plan my lessons around the block schedule so that my class doesn’t fall behind. Plus, Friday is short so the lesson that day has to be shortened.”
Smarter Balanced testing created an unusual schedule for students and faculty alike this week with a combination of block periods and a minimum day, but school is set back to normal for next week.