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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

State testing provides a good break from junior year

Amy Miao
After being drained from studying, state testing provides a recharge.

Starting in 5th grade, California public school students take their first state tests and repeat them in 8th grade and 11th grade. Like many other students, I enjoyed state testing as a kid and always was excited to check my scores in the mail during the summer to tell my parents how well I did.

Our class of juniors didn’t do state testing in 8th grade because of the pandemic, but this year, we took almost a week of class time in English and History classes to do the mandated test.

Although the missed class time meant we weren’t covering our usual material, it proved to be a good break for busy juniors, and also important to the state to keep track of student achievement. 

The different sections of the test are created to evaluate the Common Core curriculum that California has implemented since 2010. The test is split into three sections — language, science and mathematics.

According to California’s Department of Education, the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) testing plan aims to improve the level of teaching and learning in the California education system, and the testing plays an important role in determining the effectiveness of the current education system. The tests provide the state with a measure of student knowledge on various subject matters, critical thinking, analytical writing and real-world problem solving skills. With the test results from the CAASPP tests, the Department of Education states that teachers and principals will be able to adjust their school teaching and the state will be able to adjust the curriculum according to what the results reveal.

Without doubt, many juniors are burned out by their academic load by the early spring and don’t want to put any effort into state testing, but the results of the tests are incredibly important since they not only affect decisions of future educational plans, but also play a role in the ranking of every public school in California.

Additionally, the test is also a big provider of microdata for the school. If 95 percent of juniors take the test every year and most students take the tests seriously, the performance of various groups — boys, girls, special education students and English language learners, among them — is accessible for teachers and administrators to evaluate. 

While having to take a tedious state test for a whole week of school may have felt miserable at times, it was a break from the regular school curriculum and the relief from taking multiple AP classes. With less stress and less homework, we slept well and perhaps even performed well on the test, leaving us little to complain about.

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