interview with a high school guidance counselor concerning student testing and performance. The school has three different testing methods: Plan for sophomores, PAST Preliminary for SAT exams, and End of Instructions after English II and U.S. History. The types of school career development programs are mentioned.
How does the school testing methods affect the students in preparation for college or careers? The local school has three different testing methods: PLAN for sophomores, PASS Preliminary for SAT exams, and End of Instructions after English II and U.S. History. The types of school career development programs are limited because it is a small rural school.
The counselor states that testing in Oklahoma is not everything he wishes it were. He states that the school does not have specific school programs. However, he meets one on one with every senior. He states that the school takes serious its role in helping students make wise decisions concerning the college or career goal that they choose.
The school is serious in its intentions to develop high-quality standards for students. "In 1999 Priority Academic Student Skills curriculum (PASS), originally established in 1993, has been revised to clarify and provide more specific content guidelines" (NCTAF 2). This allows for different levels of performance in writing, reading, and mathematics. In some states, such as Oklahoma, if a student does not do well on the PASS, then he is not able to obtain his drivers license. Oklahoma requires that the student do well on a reading comprehension test that is given in the eighth grade or they cannot obtain their drivers license.
The PLAN is a test that sophomores are required to take. It helps them to realize what they need to study to eventually build toward the goal of going to college or to a vocational technology school. This test is important for the student, because many colleges require high scoring on SAT tests.
The End of Instruction tests are given after students complete English II and U.S. History. The counselor stated that he did not understand why this test is mandatory since nothing happens if the students fail this test. He acted like this test was a waste of time for the students and the tester. He stated that if the students failed they should have to repeat the courses or not give the test. The tests should mean something if the students are required to take them.
One of the problems in Oklahoma is the assessment program that "needs many major improvements and perhaps a complete overhaul" (Fairtest 2002). One area in testing that may cause incorrect testing is the multiple-choice questions in the PASS. This allows a student to guess and some students are great guessers. However, this does not show how well they can do when they get to college. The counselor stated that he was concern that many students will find college life is a lot harder than what they expect. Multiple choice testing is not the best method of testing.
One of his concerns was that many students do not realize the seriousness of high school and their GPA until their junior or senior year. It is difficult at that time to change the GPA. The counselor expressed that other achievement test might show the seriousness of working for the GPA. Students that goof off in high school will not be able to achieve well in college or be able to get the funding that they need when they go to college.
The counselor stated that he believed there were needs for different testing to establish a student assessment system that is comprehensive. He gave the NCTAF or the National Commission for Teaching and America's Future Handbook. It states the tests should be used to test students and give an overall complete assessment of the students' ability and then teachers should use these results by:
Results should be shared by teachers across grade levels.
Results should be used to improve curriculum.
Results should guide professional development.
Use multiple, ongoing assessment involving more than paper and pencil tests (e.g., checklists, projects, performance and other forms of authentic assessment).
Conduct annual assessment to establish trend data" (NCTAF 2001).
The problem is that most schools do not follow through with the results…