Central’s Testing Situation and Solution

MRS. ZACHARY WORKS TO IMPROVE OUR EDUCATIONS -- Mrs. Zachary, the curriculum coach, works on improving our overall grading situation at school.

Sam Helmholtz

MRS. ZACHARY WORKS TO IMPROVE OUR EDUCATIONS — Mrs. Zachary, the curriculum coach, works on improving our overall grading situation at school.

Sam Helmholtz, Staff Writer

Big, standardized tests are the most stressed things throughout the school year. From day one, the classroom curriculum is designed for you to excel at the upcoming tests. Their scores are how schools, counties, states, and most importantly, students are judged. This past year, the state of Tennessee and Hamilton County both improved in their test scores. However, the county is still a few percentages behind the rest of the state.

According to Mrs. Zachary, the curriculum coach and this year’s testing coordinator, Hamilton County has always lagged behind in many areas. However, she claims that Hamilton County is about more than testing. As well as that, many allegations towards Hamilton County’s scores are invalid. Excuses such as TNReady being unreliable and students not caring are observed statewide. This means that the country’s scores seem to be par for the course.

Still, the real question is how Central’s scores hold up against this. Last year’s testing coordinator, Mr. Parsons, reports that Central has been one of the highest preforming magnet schools in his ten years working here. Even so, he argues that standardized tests are a poor representation of how students are preforming, as they aren’t designed as well as they could be. To add to this, TNReady is reliant on reading comprehension above all else.

“Fully suburban schools will preform better on that kind of test,” expressed Parsons, “Central is a strange mix of rural and urban, two demographics that generally seem to struggle with reading scores.”

This remark is assisted by Central’s ACT scores, a large part of which is reading based. This past year, Central’s average ACT score was an 18.1, compared to the 19.8 and 21.0 that the state and nation hold respectively. Despite this, it is reasonable to assume that the state and national score averages are improved through economically better schools and areas, or places where reading is more enforced.

“If we can get students reading, widely and deeply, reading news articles and novels, expectations and scores will go up,” Zachary disclosed.

As well as this, our scores may be hindered in the future by the swiftly falling moral of the students. With the TNReady being cancelled due to electronic issues and the scores not being counted in the final grade at the last minute, many students are losing their drive for the tests.

“After two years of them not counting, how can we expect students to take tests seriously even this year,” proclaimed Parsons.

To help raise our scores, and consequentially our students’ success, the plan is to use ACT practice tests to gauge what students need extra assistance with and more time on. They will be held on March 20, 2018. While there is not much available to work with to help with the TNReady tests, the ACT practice will still give valuable insight into what exactly needs to be done. It will allow the administrators to see what students struggle with firsthand and gives them the ability to directly deal with it.

“If nothing else, we could use the ACT as a baseline, ” Parsons divulged, “while we take our time and develop a quality test rather than throwing millions of dollars at a company to rush and fail.”

Tests are very important in a student’s school career. They measure of how your education is impacting you, how hard you work at it, and how your critical thinking skills have developed. Tests, such as the ACT, serve as a basis for your future. To ensure that every students’ future is as bright and shining as it can be, everyone must work as a team to show that they are full of limitless potential.