State Testing for Seniors?


Picture by Jahninna Alegre

By Josephine Nadolny, Copy Editor

As I approached the last semester of my senior year, I expected to have little obligations.  After all, you no longer have to take SATs, ACTs, fill out college applications, or have any worries at all, right?  Wrong. Your senior year is just like any other year, except with even more obligations like jobs, finances, and college.  While seniors do receive some perks like senior night, senior sunrise, and senior sunset, we are not exempt from the obligations that were thought to have been reserved for underclassmen, specifically state testing.  

At high schools across the district, the state of California has been distributing tests for all students to take part in.  These tests are mainly math-based with some reading and writing components. Every student in the district is meant to take the same exam, therefore, to the vast majority, they are not considered complicated.  For me, and many of my peers–seniors who are in their second year of calculus–these tests are a waste of time and, in my opinion, do not show progress. Those in advanced math classes must understand basic math, i.e. adding, multiplication, and subtraction which are the main topics these tests cover; if we did not, we would not be completing college-level courses.  In fact, these tests are more of a hindrance to our education, as they waste the time we need to be learning and practicing new topics.  

With AP testing right around the corner, calculus students need every hour they can get to learn new material.  Reverting back to being analyzed on whether or not we know basic multiplication for a day does not benefit our performance.  After being notified of a mandatory state test, my calculus teacher was forced to postpone an important cumulative test until the week following.  This state test threw off our review and test-taking days, and while we had more time to review for the exam, we also lost time needed to learn new material for the upcoming AP test in May.  With so many topics to cover, it is nearly impossible to learn everything that could possibly be on the exam, however, this means that every minute in class counts.  

Taking this into account, I believe that AP calculus and statistics students should not be spending important class time taking state tests.  It goes without saying, we know basic math. However, for those who may be struggling, these tests could be extremely beneficial for analyzing the progress of these students.  So, I am not against state testing, however, if they are not benefitting the student or furthering research, I do not believe they should be given.