2019 Testing Week Schedule Sparks CHS Debate

Maryland students take a variety of standardized tests, such as PARCC, MISA, and the HSA to comply with graduation requirements.

Montgomery County Public Schools

Maryland students take a variety of standardized tests, such as PARCC, MISA, and the HSA to comply with graduation requirements.

Kara Peeler, Reporter

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CHS adjusted its schedule for a week of standardized testing so students can meet graduation requirements. From Monday, May 20 through Thursday, May 23, students taking a test arrived at the normal time while other students were allowed to arrive late; regular classes began at 11:50.

Maryland requires a variety of standardized tests to ensure that students graduate with the necessary knowledge. Such tests include the English 10 PARCC, Algebra 1 PARCC, the MISA, and the Government HSA.

“I understand that the MD state Department of Education requires testing and setting a certain standard for students to meet, which I do agree with, but the number of tests that we have to give and the period of time we have to give, and the overlapping is kind of stressful,” social studies teacher Kimberly Moore said.

The number of tests given during one week raised controversy over the nature of standardized testing.

“I think standardized testing is often unnecessary and students should be tested on their levels or more specifically according to their classes. If it is tests like the PARCC where you just have to pass it, I don’t see the point,” sophomore Danika Perez said.

Testing takes hours since students are required to follow specific protocols, read detailed instructions, and have plenty of time allotted so students can complete the test. Unfortunately, this is often draining to students.

“The past week of standardized testing has been just draining, it’s not even that the tests are necessarily hard, it’s more that it’s right after APs and you’re already drained,” sophomore Vagmi Luhar said. “I also had a frustrating time because the school didn’t do well at informing me and other students about if we were or weren’t taking the MISA.”

Even teachers have noticed their students’ struggles, which negatively impacts their instructional time.

“Even if we tried to continue instruction, it would be difficult because kids are wiped out,” Moore said.

Many students were absent, especially in classes of mixed grades. This meant that teachers often had to adjust their lessons or students had lots of make-up lessons to complete.

“As for the schedule, it is a huge waste of time and annoying from a teacher’s perspective but I like having short days so it’s good for me,” Perez said.

Despite downfalls, standardized testing remains essential to schools.

“If we’re trying to set a standard and make sure that schools are meeting the needs of students, we have to have some sort of standard for schools to work toward,” Moore said.

Even students agree, such as sophomore Mahima Rampurae who agreed that “testing is worth messing up schedule.”

“I don’t like the idea of teaching to the test but I don’t know how else to do it because students like us need serious incentives,” Perez said.

The state requirements and need for a standard make it difficult to make changes to the testing schedule. However, the PARCC will be replaced with a new standardized test; the last PARCC tests were taken this year.

“Maybe an option is requiring these tests to be spread out throughout the year, but one difficulty with that is that we haven’t learned the content,” Moore said.

Week-long testing schedules drain students and harm class time, but with testing requirements, there is no other way around it.