Testing Consumes Second Semester


Advanced Placement students Brigina Terry (12), Zakiyah Stowe (12), and Jacob Nino (12) take an exam in their AP Language class. “I spend about two and a half hours every night to study,” Terry said. “It really helps with strengthening my writing skills.”

Adaliah Collins, Co-Editor

Managing social, athletic, and academic responsibilities is nothing new for Rams. Adding to this schedule is a semester jam-packed with prom, sports practices, games, and the big T. Testing.

Scores for some of these assessments are not reflected on report cards, but are used for military and college admissions, and state and school testing reports.

On Feb 26, 26 students took the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, which is used to determine qualification for enlistment in the US Armed Forces.  ASVAB score is good for two years for all military branches.

“The ASVAB is a career assessment tool designed to help students identify which career areas best suit them, whether they are planning on civilian or military careers,” Luz Guerrero, CCRC coordinator,  said. “Studies have shown that ASVAB measures academic ability and predicts success in a wide variety of occupations…so whether you are planning a civilian or military career, you can start taking steps toward finding a career that’s right for you.”

During fourth quarter, another set of assessments is End of Course exams, which is given to students enrolled in Algebra I, Biology, and US History. Tests reflect what students learned in  the course, and their scores are worth a percentage of their final grade.

On March 1, classes were suspended for one day so that underclassmen can focus and take their tests. Freshmen and sophomores took the ACT ASPIRE test, which can prepare students for taking the ACT test in their junior year. ASPIRE assesses student readiness in English, math, reading, science, and writing.

“I think that one of the things that students are not aware of, especially those entering their junior year, is the multitude of tests that need to take place,” Sherrie Tiitii, curriculum coordinator, said.

On March 1, juniors took the  ACT Plus Writing Test, which assesses students in math, reading, English, and science. Test scores will be mailed to students in three to eight weeks after testing and their scores may be used for college admission. ACT is free to all juniors enrolled in Department of Education schools in the state, but the price for this test is $56.50.

On April 7 and April 11, only juniors will report to school. They will be tasked with taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment. In this state mandated test, students in grades 3 through 8 and 11, are assessed on the Common Core State Standards, and the results show if a student is prepared for college. Some colleges, such as the University of Hawaii system,  look at students SBA scores to determine their placement in classes.

From May 2 through May 13, students in Advanced Placement classes are required to take AP exams for their courses. Students may earn scores from 1 through 5, so depending on the college’s passing scores, students’ scores may allow them to earn college credit for that course.

In the meantime, college-bound students as young as sophomores are registering for one of seven opportunities during the year to sign up for the SAT, which tests students in reading, writing and math, and is used for college admission.

Madeleine Cole (11) is taking four assessments this semester (ACT, SBA, and two AP exams), and is starting to feel the pressure.

It’s very stressful, and I dislike it very much, but I know I have to take them so I can further my education,” she said.

Some students are already studying for their exams so they can be prepared for the assessments

“I don’t enjoy it,” Joelle Camaso (11), who is taking four assessments, said. “I feel so stressed already with all the homework.”Prior to these assessments, teachers work with students on content and skills they need so that they can meet and exceed the standards for these tests.

“If we test too early on, teachers will not have had the opportunity to cover all content,” Tiitii said. “But it is unfortunate, because for you, as students you are being tasked with a multitude of tests.”

Students can avoid finding themselves in a stressful position by taking action. Kriztofer Caraang (11) is getting ready for his three exams by studying early.

“If we don’t prepare for them, then it’s stressful, and you’re just setting yourself up for failure,” he said.

Another way to avoid stress is to understand what courses entail. Many students sign up for classes without knowing how much or what exactly is being asked of them, so they should consider their work ethic, extracurricular activities, employment, and self-discipline.

“On average, I study four-ten hours a week for my AP classes. I am currently taking two AP [classes]. I had to learn  how to prioritize my time meaning, less parties, less chill days with friends, less family time. AP classes are every stressful and time consuming, so if you don’t have time, do not take AP classes,” Zakiyah Stowe (12) said.

Students also need to understand each testing format. Knowing the requirements for each test may help them with what needs to be done and how they should respond to questions.

“Between the ACT, the SBA, and the SAT, all of the formats are different, so trying to acquaint yourself with the formats is the best way to prepare,” Tiitii said.