The Jaguar Journal

The Student News Site of North Creek High School

The Jaguar Journal

The Jaguar Journal

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Is the SBAC a Waste of Time?

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Luka Beadnell

Originally Published in the May 23rd Print Publication

Staring at the ceiling or blankly into space, we count the ceiling tiles until our heads spin into oblivion. Year after year, we all sit in a classroom with a computer for hours attempting to please the creators of school testing.

Of course, in case you don’t know what I’m talking about yet, I’m referring to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium or, commonly known as the SBAC.

SBAC testing was officially established in 2004 following the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). It was created to shrink the achievement gap between those who overachieve and those who underachieve in public schools throughout the country.

The students that are required to take the SBAC test are third to tenth graders. This means that about half of the student’s educational years are spent taking these standardized tests for the government. This test is part of what determines how much funding is given to the public schools, as well. Therefore, if students meet the standard schools are rewarded, if not then too bad.

Not only does the state fund schools, it usually uses the test as a measure of productivity for them. The SBAC is a waste of time and resources for schools, given that they have to stop teaching entirely for a week.

They also don’t measure students accurately, given that one test doesn’t determine a student’s average performance throughout the school year. I’ve met several people during my time at this school that rush through the test so that they don’t have to sit there for hours.

Unsurprisingly, the fact that the SBAC only focuses on testing reading and math means that all other categories of material learned at school are thrown out the window.

The federal government hones in on linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence, forgetting every other course offered at school, such as physical education or the arts department.

The fact that the testing prioritizes Math and English simply means that schools are more likely to focus on those classes and disregard any interest in other subjects.

Yet, if I were to find the worst part about standardized tests, it would be the results. With a simple level 1, level 2, level 3, or level 4, you are given the most vague test results I have ever seen. The test fails to provide any details on what they define as “meets high school expectations” or “nearly meets high school expectations.”

It is worth noting that teachers of students do have access to the records of how and by how much students passed or did not pass the SBAC. However most teachers do not use them, seeing as the daily interactions with students are what really give detail to the learning.

When families and students are presented with the results, they are given no rubric or detailed information about the test. Furthermore, students aren’t provided with any aid as to what to improve on to meet the requirements.

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About the Contributors
Estel Soriano Bergua News Editor One of the few people on the team who can actually get things done on time.
Luka Beadnell, Graphics, Editor
Luka Beadnell Graphics and Grammar Editor This paper probably wouldn't look or read well if Luka wasn't helping.
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