This year the score’s are more critical because “last year we fell below the expected target for reading scores, so we were designated a School in Need of Assistance (S.I.N.A.)” said guidance counselor Courtney Walter. Trager and Walter are hoping that shortening the amount of tests given for the Iowa Assessments down to three tests will help the students focus more and allow them to give more effort. The three tests that will be given, reading, science, and math, are the only ones the state requires schools to report.
“Teachers will be discussing test-taking strategies with students during advisories and we continue to look at instruction and curriculum to see how it aligns with the Iowa Assessments,” said Walter.
Even with the effort given from the staff members, not many students are doing much of anything to prepare for the tests; yet a majority of the students at least try or take the test seriously; such as, Morgan Malloy, Morgan Oakley, and Davis Sebetka. Sometimes students will get some sort of award if they do well on these tests, Oakley says that a pizza party is sometimes provided as an award.
Sebetka thinks that if he could get $5-$10 or a gift certificate as an award, it would help motivate him for the tests.
However, Malloy feels differently, she said, “kids shouldn’t feel entitled to always get a reward for doing things just because they don’t want to. They should step up without expecting anything.”
Trager said, “we need students to do their honest best, without extra preparation, so we really know where we are in regard to student achievement.”
Besides the 1st through 11th grades taking the Iowa Assessments the 12th grade will be participating in an assessment for the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC). “Iowa Workforce Development is using these assessments with employers and potential applicants to measure real world skills. Students will earn a certificate level in the areas of applied mathematics, reading for information, and locating information. An NCRC certificate may benefit seniors as they enter the workforce and encounter open positions that designate a specific skill level needed. We’re giving this to seniors because it’s a practical assessment that we feel will give them an edge in the job market whether they’re looking for full-time employment, summer employment, or even internships,” said Walter.
Even with the Iowa Assessment and NCRC coming up, Trager thinks, “it’s equally important to make the point that these tests are one (and only one) indicator of how you are doing as a student.”