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SAT-10 tests students' knowledge, displays school's progress

FC students will once again take the Stanford Achievement Test 10th edition (SAT10), April 15-19. For the first part of each school day, they will work on the standardized tests. After testing, students will continue to their classes on a shortened schedule.

Principal Todd Bennett explains the main reasons why schools take the standardized tests. According to Bennett, the testing shows the school’s progress and reflects the work of the teachers.

“All schools take standardized tests of some sort,” Bennett said. “They do it so that they can monitor how they are doing as far as teaching students according to a standard. It tells you how the school is doing as far as educating kids compared to other schools taking the test. This way, it validates the programs we have and lets us know if we are aligned with what the testing company thinks is important.”

Bennett finds that the the test results are usually accurate, though some of the material is not what the school teaches.

“The accuracy of the test depends on the subject and on the alignment of what?s being taught in the classroom,” Bennett said. “In some cases, we have decided as a school to not focus on some of the material because it is not the same as the standards for the course. It could be that the test was written a few years ago and isn?t that accurate or it could have secular material that we don?t focus on. For the most part, though, it does tell us what we need to know.”

There are some downsides to the tests, however, as Bennett points out. Students sometimes focus on the testing more or less than they should.

“There are a couple of downsides to the testing,” Bennett said. “The first thing is that sometimes kids don?t try their hardest on it. It doesn?t affect their grade at all, and when students realize that, sometimes they don?t really try. The other downside is that sometimes students put a lot of pressure on themselves, and it shuts their brain down once they are actually taking the test.”

Nick Fontes, ’15, feels that the testing is helpful in preparing him for more important tests in the future, though it can be tedious at times.

“I think the testing is pretty useful, since we can look at how we have been doing throughout the previous years,” Fontes said. “It’s good practice for more important tests like the SAT or the ACT. Sometimes it’s boring, though, especially when you have to push through the sections you aren’t good at.”

Amy Savage, ’13, plans to enjoy her exemption from the tests as a senior. Although she liked certain parts of it, she is glad to have the extra time in the mornings.

“I am very glad I don’t have to take the tests,” Savage said. “Now I can sleep in and have breakfast instead of going in and taking tests for hours. When I did take it, I liked parts of it. For example, I enjoyed the reading sections, but I didn’t like the math section as much.”

Bennett offers some advice to the students taking the tests. He believes that they should have the mentality of sports players during their games.

“What I encourage everyone to do is get a good night?s sleep and eat a good breakfast,” Bennett said. “Also, they should realize that, like a game in sports, the hard work happens during practice. Once you are in a game, you are having fun. I encourage students to look at tests the same way, as a chance to show off their knowledge and work.”

For more news, read the April 11 article, BRIEF: Math Field Day stretches student skills.

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