I first found out about the state testing this year when my English Language Arts (ELA) teacher was showing us a calendar with the events of the next AOL (Assessment of Learning). Considering how late it was in the year, I was shocked because the tests had not been mentioned before that day, which was March 17, when we would have had weeks of tests prep already, or at least a mention of them. I had thought that there would be no testing, just like there wasn’t at my elementary school last year.
Another 6th grader, Camilla Spillmann, felt the same way. “In the year before , leading up to the state test at my school we would practice for at least a month. We would do practice questions and go over strategies in almost every subject,” Camilla said. “This year, I found out that we were even doing the state test only when going over the schedule for a project. Which kind of illustrates the difference in preparation.”
Despite the difference in test preparation that students have experienced before and after the pandemic, Spillman still believes students are prepared.
“I still don’t think students are going in blind. From the years before we know the structure and experience of taking a State Test and during the year we have still been learning concepts even though remote.”
With our ELA teacher, Julissa Martinez, and our Math teacher, Marie Milach, we have done numerous quote analyses, AOLs, other essay practices, quizzes, and more. I think that with everything Julissa and Marie have taught us since September, 6th graders like me can handle it.
Also, state tests this year are optional, so if someone does not feel ready for the tests, they won’t have to do them. If someone feels that they can do it, they should!
Setting that aside, someone might argue that, even if the tests are optional, kids aren’t prepared. They might say that covid-19 has been hard on kids, and that we shouldn’t force something as stressful as the state tests onto kids. If that is the case, you don’t have to worry about it, because you don’t have to do it.
Overall, I think that 6th grade kids are prepared for standardized testing this year. It won’t be exactly the same as previous years, that’s for sure!