MMHS Juniors Express Anxiety Over Test Results

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Test anxietyJuniors at March Mountain High School (MMHS) recently took the CAASPP test. Many students at MMHS felt that there isn’t a need for standardized testing and are concerned that their test results will adversely affect class placements for next year.  

The CAASPP acronym stands for California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress. Third through eighth and 11th grade students are required by the state to take it. Depending on how well students do on the test, results may be used for class placement.

Schools are also rated on how well students perform on the test throughout the whole district, not just March Mountain High School. However, test results have nothing to do with the funding of  schools.

MMHS Principal, Sean McMurray is one of the coordinators of the CAASPP testing here at our site. “It’s a requirement and it’s supposed to be a measurement of how well we’ve prepared students or how students have been prepared throughout high school even in elementary school, and middle school, and to see also where we compete in the world,” said McMurray.

Results are also used  as a measurement of how well  students are doing especially in the subject of English. “To help prepare the students for the CAASPP testing at March Mountain, the students are given performance tasks which keeps a focus on writing at March Mountain and March Valley. Not only does it prepare the students for the CAASPP test but it gives the teachers data specifically English and social science departments on what they need to help students with on the skills they lack,” added McMurray.

The school wide Performance tasks are designed by each department, English and Math  teachers educate  others, so they can lead students in the performance part of the writing task.  This  preparation helps students be able to do their very best  on the performance tasks, and ultimately on the CAASPP.

Kim Morey, Guidance Assistant here at March Mountain played a role in the CAASPP testing too. She is one of testing coordinators and was in charge of making testing schedules,  preparing student lists, and getting all supplies and materials ready. She also makes sure that teachers have all the materials that they need as well. Testing is a large part of her position and she works very diligently, she also works with the principal, to decide on how testing will be done. The district sends all the materials to MMHS and it’s part of Morey’s job to divide up them equally so there is enough for every student in each class. Morey is persistent and dedicated. She has a huge passion not only for her position as a guidance assistant, but she has a lot of belief and pride in our school.  “I love getting everything ready, I love my job. Sometimes it’s difficult when students don’t take it seriously, but hopefully we encourage them to take it seriously, because it means a lot to our school,” stated Morey.

MMHS Counselor, Kim Arcos, will use test results for class placement next year. Arcos isn’t the only one who  looks at the test results, community colleges, and universities look at these test results as well for future placement. Arcos tries her hardest to make sure  MMHS students are placed in excellent classes with phenomenal teachers so that they not only get their credits, but also learn their subjects and about themselves, to better their well being.

Arcos shed some light about students perceptions of Read 180 and math support classes.  “Those classes are for students who are struggling, and it doesn’t determine the intelligence of a student. A lot of the students that are in read 180 are students that are still learning English, these classes are also used as a support class like Core+, where a student has kind of a study hall class so they can get extra time and that extra support to do well and gives them more time to get things done in their other classes.”

MMHS Junior, Marco Navarro,  took the CAASPP test this year and feels uneasy about his test results.  “I felt like that the questions on the test were bizarre and unfamiliar. Nothing I learned was on the test it seemed. I was confused and I struggled trying to answer the questions correctly. I am  concerned, because like I said I didn’t really know a lot of the topics, so I feel like I might be placed in a lower class,” said Navarro.

“There shouldn’t be any standardized testing, because I feel like everyone learns differently. So the tests can’t measure up or define where a student should be placed next year, or those tests shouldn’t determine where we are in our education, especially here at a continuation school where you have kids from different schools, so you don’t know if we are all on the same testing level the state wants us to be at,” Navarro added.

Jesse Perez, MMHS Junior, who also took the test feels anxious about his test results specifically on the math portion. Math is very challenging and he has always struggled with math. So he feels that he did poorly on that section of the test. “Math is not my best subject. So I know I will most likely be placed in a class like math support, which isn’t so bad because I can then at least get the help I need and build the skills that I lack so that I can improve and excel better on my math work more easier, but still math support can be considered a low expectations class,”  said Perez.

Perez understands why we have standardized tests but he feels that the testing time is too long, and eventually students will stop trying, or they will get distracted and uninterested in the test. Also, he appreciates the instructors that taught the mini lessons beforehand.  He felt they did an amazing job because when he took the test, he felt that the test was relevant to the mini lesson, which made it easier for him to do well on those areas on the CAASPP test.

MMHS students who recently took the CAASPP testing had some difficulties in some areas of the test, but they tried to excel and do the best they could. They understand how important it is to try their best especially when it comes to state tests even though many students feel that they are long and unnecessary. 

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