Beginning this year, the Common Core standards began to be implemented in the CMHS curriculum, with last year being the last time the students would solely take the California Standards Test (CST).
The test was different from the CST because it was an online tests, with students reporting to the computer lab for a full day of testing. The test required the students to explain all their answers, nothing was simply just bubbling in. The math portion required a lot of students to remember Algebra 2 standards and know how to explain the problem.
Student Laura Le stated that “ The English portion of the test has some potential in terms of provoking more analytical thinking. The math portion was overly complicated though, which was mostly die to how hard it was to format answers using the computer. I liked typing more than writing for English, but I would prefer having paper and a pencil for math."
The English portion of the Common Core test consisted of reading and responding to a prompt. Unlike the CST where students read a prompt and bubbled in answers, the students had to respond to each prompt in elaborate paragraphs.
The Common Core test also required the students to take an Environmental Studies portion where the students had to write an essay on an environmental issue. Not only did the new system have a test involved, but the students also learned a lesson the “common core” way in between the English and environmental studies portion of the test.
Student Janelle Alonzo believed that, “Overall, It was an inefficient way to test us.”
The juniors are also expected to take the CST test in May.
"It's an in-between year. We're adjusting to the new standards," commented English teacher Mrs. Lindfors. "This puts the juniors under a ton of stress."
The CST is mainly being given this year for the EAP tests, which can replace placement test requirements for Cal States and community colleges.
It is also unclear whether the juniors will receive the entirety of their SBAC scores.
With the difficulty it takes to change from one testing method to another, the test was found to be difficult from the juniors. The students believed that they were not adequately prepared for the Common Core, having been used to the CST over their entire educational careers.
CMHS student Sophie Nguyen stated “I wasn’t a super big fan of the test, mainly because the concept of the test was so new. I found the computer-based aspect of it challenging at times. Personally, I prefer physically writing down my answers rather than typing them up. Regarding the content. The math portion was pretty hard, I had no idea what I was doing.”