Sunday, November 16, 2014

Testimony from a student who took CMAS.

Editor's note: The following comes from an email we received from a high school senior who took CMAS. At her request, her name, as well as the name of her school and district, are withheld. 

"I am a senior at [name of school], and did take the test today. Due to the reputation we have, we weren’t given the option to opt out, and if we weren’t there –for whatever reason- we would be required to make up the test on the day we get back.
"The science test included mostly Biology and Physical science topics, which we haven’t seen since freshman year (bio) or earlier (physical). The questions that didn't cover those topics, you would have had to take a specialized course, such as AP Chemistry, to fully understand. It was a fairly easy test with one or two harder questions: much like the ACT science section.
            "The social studies test consisted of various, unrelated, topics and some random questions about India, which we also haven’t seen since freshman year in AP Human Geo. The majority of the questions focused on insurance, bank statements, and mortgages. These topics are not only not required, but not always offered. I know I don’t go to a normal high school, but that isn't fair to give us a test on subjects that aren't offered. It will create a never ending loop. [name of high school] doesn't have the funds, resources, or space to create an economics class. Due to the fact that  [name of high school] doesn't offer these courses, we have a greater chance of not doing so well. By not doing well, we don’t get as much funding because we ‘aren't doing our job’. Not getting that funding re-starts the loop again.
            "The social studies topics are things that should start to be covered in middle school if not elementary school. They are important things to know, but because of this test, they will be crammed in the first few months of senior year, just so the school can get good scores. This means that schools will be teaching for the test, which already happens too much with ACT and SAT, rather than teaching for life- which is the ultimate test of what actually works.
            We have been promised since 3rd grade that we can stop these tests in 10th grade. There is a reason why the cut off was 10th grade. ... People are also starting to realize that standardized tests don’t tell you about the student. That is why more and more colleges and universities are becoming test optional schools each year. Why should the school's funding be based off of a test when college admission isn't?
            "One of the worst parts of the test is that they didn't account for the mass of people on the server at once. Not only is the entirety of [name of school district] on ONE wifi, but with the amount of people taking it, the app kept crashing. I was in the lucky class that had to sit in a classroom for 2 hours while we were trying to log on. This error was because of the fact that there were about 120 other people at our school alone trying to access the test, let alone the rest of the district and state. I talked to a student from a school in a different district who also took the test and they had issues with this as well. The amount of problems that would have occurred had the rest of [name of school district] also taken this test is ridiculous. The app doesn't work for that many people and having a test on a computer is un-reliable. Many computers (we were mostly on Chrome books, again because of lack of funding and space) ran out of power and had many glitches. ...
            "I know none of the seniors at my school took this test seriously and we put random answers just to get [it] done. 

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