Tedious Testing Worth Reputation

Mallory lapiana, staff writer

When I learned about the new standardized testing, and that juniors would be taking the exam while other grades were not, I felt abused. The junior class is already stressed enough with homework, AP testing, SATs and ACTs, and, of course, final exams to conclude what is commonly referred to as the most critical academic year for prospective college attendees.

To be honest, the testing turned out not to be so bad. I got to school by 8 o’clock and listened to the proctor explain the instructions. The test itself was rather boring, and I found myself lulled by the gentle tapping of computer keyboards as students navigated through the online interface.

As testing on the first day concluded and the room re-awakened with teen banter, my friends and I debriefed before heading off to our regular classes.

Later that day I found out that some of my friends did not take the test, and were not planning to take any of the remaining tests during the week.  Instead, they were sleeping late and arriving to school after the exam sessions were over. They told me that their mothers wrote notes excusing them from the testing.

Apparently, this test wasn’t that important.  Otherwise, why would the state allow people to simply “opt out”?

I was angry.

The following morning, I sat, discouraged and disgruntled, in my assigned testing classroom, waiting for the proctor to start the exam. Then, Mr. Walker entered and thanked us all for being there for the test and that our willingness to take the exam meant a lot to him and the school.  He explained that our scores, in fact, would be used for important school diagnostics, and that the number of students taking the exam would impact our school’s ranking on county and state assessments.

He mentioned that those students choosing not to take the exam were potentially putting the rank and reputation of the school at risk.

Mr. Walker made me feel good about taking the test. It gave me purpose knowing that I was contributing to the school which has provided me so much.  It reminded me that being a Campolindo student is a privilege, and that there are literally hundreds of thousands of students across California that do not receive the level of instruction or the breadth of extracurricular opportunities we have here.

It’s true, testing throws a wrench into our routines, and causes confusion and stress.  It comes just as students are beginning to make that last push to raise semester grades and prepare for finals.  It can also be excruciatingly boring, as the exam period is often much longer than the time it takes to complete the test.  We sit, trapped in a quiet room, watching the clock slowly tick.

Nevertheless, if it helps maintain Campolindo’s status as one of the top high schools in the country, and that designation is a factor in how people and colleges judge my scholastic aptitude, then I’m all for it.

If you want a diploma that says “Campolindo High School” on it, you should be expected to contribute to the social integrity and academic excellence for which it stands.