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State Testing: Why It’s Important

May 12, 2016 09:50AM ● Published by Jim

By:  Beaver Dam Unified School District - Beaver Dam, WI

In education today, students are quite familiar with mandated-state testing. Letters get sent home to families explaining the test, and staff appropriately prepares students in hopes for each student’s success on the test. Starting early in students’ educational years, they understand that there will be certain days dedicated to this type of testing. By the time students get to high school, the testing plays a major role in their goals and plans for after graduation.

At Beaver Dam High School, freshman and sophomore students just completed the state test called the ACT Aspire. This test is an indicator of where the students will score when they take the ACT during their junior year. Students are tested in the areas of reading, math, science, writing, and English. It is a time-based test

that is completed on a computer, and the high school has an adjusted schedule for two days to ensure a positive environment. Students are reminded of doing their best on the test, but why is it so important?

 When results are made available (usually over the summer), administration begins to read through and analyze the results. The student-service department places students in appropriate classes depending on the student scores. Staff get the opportunity to discuss and analyze the scores within

their departments and make changes to their instruction if needed. Based on scores from the tests, students can begin to narrow down their choices of colleges or other plans after high school, continue to work in areas that need improvement (as indicated on the test), and take appropriate classes that will challenge them the last two years of high school. According to Crystal Bates, Associate Principal of Curriculum and Instruction, “The results we receive are key to the future pathway of all students. They provide additional benchmarks and help teachers with their instruction. Students are able to see if they are at grade level in each subject and on track to be college and career ready.”

When you hear a statement that includes “state testing,” understand that schools, specifically Beaver Dam High School, take this exercise seriously because of the impact it has on the future of our students. Students put forth their best efforts this year on the ACT Aspire, and we hope that the results indicate that our ACT scores will continue to be the highest in the area! 

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