The testing this fall was tedious, but it was for good reason

Dec. 8, 2021

By Jude McElroy

This fall, students faced a series of tests. Sophomores and juniors took the PSAT on Oct. 13, all students took at least one Start Strong test between Oct. 18-20, and 9-11th graders took LinkIt! in late October or early November.

Combined with tests for academic classes and quarterly exams, it felt like every other day students had a new test to take. While it may have been stressful, these assessments were necessary.

Remote learning commenced in March 2020, and it was not until September 2021 that all students returned to school in person. Because the switch to online education was so unexpected, it caught both educators and students off-guard. Teachers did not have much time to prepare for virtual schooling, and students struggled with limited access to technology, often lacked a quiet space to work, and missed the in-person contact with students and teachers that they were used to. 

Mental health concerns were also on the rise during this time. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health Issues, about 21% of U.S. adults and 16.5% of 6-17-year-olds experience mental health issues, the most common being anxiety disorders at 19.1%. 

For all of these reasons, students fell behind, and testing is a useful way to prepare students for college and assess learning loss

Students may not realize how much learning they missed out on because of Covid-19, which is what makes these tests so important.

According to the New Jersey Department of Education, Start Strong was designed “to produce information that should be used as a standards-based complement to the resources used by educators” and to “evaluate the needs of students.” 

LinkIt! was not created because of the pandemic, but it was updated to be more flexible for teachers and to gauge where students are.

Students may not realize how much learning they missed out on because of Covid-19, which is what makes these tests so important.

By examining the data from the tests students have taken, teachers now know what they need to teach and reteach. They also have information about where students excel, so they are aware of the material they can move through more quickly. 

Furthermore, these tests provide students with an opportunity to hone their test-taking skills, which is helpful because everyone will have to take the SAT or another standardized test at some point.

Some students may have felt the testing this fall was overwhelming and monotonous, but it was for a good reason, and students will be more successful in the long run because of it.

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