Guest Editorial: Test scores are in and ‘thank you’s’ are in order

By on November 4, 2010

Cartoon by Sophia BlankGuest Editorial
by the Kaneland Krier Editorial Board

The average high schooler will spend about 11 hours in front of a standard testing booklet in total, filling out thousands of bubbles and reading too many prompts to count. The focus on testing keeps intensifying, and Adequate Yearly Progress is on everyone’s radar, yet somehow never met or fully understood. The different percentages required every year always grows, putting more pressure on teachers and students alike.

We’re not going to sugarcoat the facts for you: Kaneland didn’t make AYP, and some of our scores went down. But with the unrest that not meeting AYP has caused, what’s been lost is that the most important scores went up—our college readiness scores—and that changes are happening at Kaneland. So let’s take a minute. Put down the 457-page ACT book and pause the timer on that practice essay in English. We deserve a break and an even bigger thank you.

First and foremost, thank you to the teachers. All of them work overtime to improve our testing success. Not only did the English and foreign language departments come up with daily ACT questions for juniors, they take time away from class every day to complete them.

Many teachers attended ACT writing workshops and hold practice timed essays in class, just to be able to provide us with helpful tips. The social studies department holds timed essays too, and almost all science classes spent time working on ACT prep. And we can’t forget the many STEN periods the math department arrived early to go hold a math power review. There’s an endless array of work being put in from every department and teacher that goes beyond their job description, and our appreciation for that is huge.

Next, thank you to the district. Although rarely seen in the halls, they do an astounding amount of work and are our biggest support system. They work as a team to plan and find time for every helpful testing activity possible, and they provide training opportunities for staff which in turn help us, the students. Without their support and vision to move forward, the progress in test scores wouldn’t have happened.

And last but not least, we should thank ourselves, the students. When it comes down to it, it’s up to us to perform. No matter how many hours teachers spend helping us prepare or how many opportunities are handed to us, we make the final call on what the scores will be and what benchmarks we’ll hit.

Looking at the 7 percent raises in reading and math college readiness, it’s clear more of us did just that: took it seriously. We stepped up to the plate and realized that although annoying, these tests do affect our futures.