Central Juniors to Participate in English Field Testing Exams

CENTRAL JUNIORS TO PARTICIPATE IN ENGLISH FIELD TESTING EXAMS -- Jazmyn Ball is  working hard to end the second semester with exceptional grades.

DayOnna Carson

CENTRAL JUNIORS TO PARTICIPATE IN ENGLISH FIELD TESTING EXAMS -- Jazmyn Ball is working hard to end the second semester with exceptional grades.

DayOnna Carson, Head Staff Writer

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Central juniors will be participating in an English Language Arts field test this spring. The Hamilton County Department of Education made the decision to distribute the online field tests in an attempt to collect crucial research for the development of the mandatory end-of-course state testing.

“Field tests are a way for the state to gather data on new and future tests. Without sufficient data, it is nearly impossible to tell if a test is measures student achievement both fairly and efficiently,” explained English instructor Kevin Parsons.

In recent years, Hamilton County schools, as well as many others around our state’s region, have run into several dilemmas during state tests. Most notably, the MIST server crashed as a result of too many schools starting the exams at the same time. Despite this, test developers have made several system repairs to reduce potential technical difficulties that may occur while testing is being conducted.

One major factor that has contributed to the flaws discovered in the tests is the constant change of test vendors. The Department of Education has tried to partner with multiple different test makers in its quest to convert from written tests to computerized testing. This year, Questar will be producing testing materials.

Every test vendor has its own way of formatting questions, which makes it difficult for students to adjust to the new platforms. However, educators are hoping to use the data collected from these field tests to fine tune and give teachers an insight of what to expect on the finalized version of the exam.

Typically these trials do not require the entire school, which has made some students ponder why field tests are only given to select grade levels.

“A study doesn’t need to involve everyone to make accurate conclusions. You can survey or test just a sampling of a population,” Parsons declared, “Not all Tennessee schools have to give the field test, and some of those who are may be testing other grade levels than we are.”

The online practice test is scheduled to take place on March 5 for sophomores and March 12 for juniors. The field test will not be counted as a grade for students because it is purely for state research. Teachers are advising students to eat a healthy breakfast and get plenty of sleep, as they would for any examination. Students are expected to demonstrate their knowledge and take the tests seriously in order to ensure that future exams run smoothly.

“If we want a fair and effective EOC, then we have actually put forth effort on these field tests,” Parsons concluded.

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