Renee Martin

The idea of standardized testing is looming in the air with the days ticking away until the moment comes when students have to take a test that determines whether or not they graduate.

There’s been talk of opt-outs and walk-outs, but no one knows for sure if the students are going to submit to this strange, new test or if they will actually fight against it.

Opting out of the Smarter Balanced test has been very hush-hush with information about it mostly circling around within the student body. Teachers aren’t allowed to encourage opting out, never in a million years, but that doesn’t necessarily stop them from talking bad about the test.

There are a few problems with the Smarter Balanced test that have gotten students riled up.

  • It has a new format that students haven’t seen before
  • There are glitches within the test
  • Some questions seem to not have correct answers
  • Beta tests have indicated that 60-70 percent of students who take the test will fail
  • It doesn’t matter if a student gets a good score because it doesn’t show up on transcripts
  • Yet it’s required to graduate high school

These are only a few of the problems with the test that students are getting angry and frustrated about.

Students can opt-out of the Smarter Balanced test if it interferes with the students’ moral or religious beliefs. Suddenly, a new religion has surfaced among the students and the first commandment: Thou shalt not take standardized tests.

Referring to the graph on the Smarter Balanced test website, approximately 64 percent of 11th graders will not meet the grade level required score of the Smarter Balanced test which will require a retake of the test. This doesn’t seem like a promising statistics for students who are taking a strange test for the first time.

“I hate the fact that I have to do it and the fact that most people that will take it will more than likely fail,” Harper Brown said. “Really upset about it.”

“The Smarter Balanced test doesn’t prove how smart I am or what I’m good at. It proves that I’m good at retaining knowledge. That’s it,” McKayla Melton said. “But I’ll take the test anyways so I can get into a college and move on with my life.”

“I personally think that Smarter Balanced test shouldn’t happen. They are set up in a way that we have never seen before and it’s setting up the junior class specifically for failure,” Shelby Faherty said, bringing up a very good point about the format of the test.

The new format of the test includes essay style responses, which leaves the answer open to interpretation from the test scorers, so the right and wrong answer is subjective. Also, students have to read a chunk of text and highlight pre-selected words as the answer, but in the sample items the pre-selected words for highlighting don’t seem to be right, even to the teachers.

The Springfield school board is considering on whether or not to make their students take the Smarter Balanced test this year simply because of the overwhelming amount of anxiety and stress that the upcoming test has caused students.

According to the Register Guard, if fewer than 95 percent of a school’s students don’t participate in the tests, the school’s state ranking drops. With an undetermined amount of students at North opting out of the Smarter Balanced test, only time will tell if North’s state ranking will go down from the already low number that it is.