April brings fresh AIR


Jenna Bao

AIR testing results in “block” scheduling, with students attending each class besides second bell every other day. Second bell is required every day for attendance. Many students are taking advantage of not taking tests to sleep in or visit colleges.

Jenna Bao, Associate Editor

It is that time of year again. Freshman and sophomores put their efforts into multiple choice questions, class schedules are thrown out of place, and ineffectual complaints from students and teachers alike are commonplace.
The season of standardized testing has arrived.
For the week of April 18-22 all underclassmen take English language arts AIR tests and those in Geometry, Algebra I, American history, and/or biology must take the appropriate exams.
Sophomore Michael Xiang said, “If standardized tests were actually made for all the courses at our school then it’d probably be more effective at garnering results than having just the geometry or American history kids take it.”
AIR is the replacement for last year’s short-lived PARCC, which was supposed to replace OGTs as graduation requirements and means of comparing students and schools to their peers. Both AIR and PARCC are components of Common Core, an attempt to create unified national educational standards.
Sophomore Lalitha Konda said, “The AIR test was a lot easier than the PARCC and it didn’t take as much time away from actual school. [I thought] it was easier because there weren’t as many questions and the questions weren’t very specific.
“I think the test definitely lowered state standards [from last year] but at the same time I can see how [the standards] might not reflect the standard kids. But I feel like it’s not necessarily a bad thing if the standards are slightly higher because it raises expectations.”
However, both tests and Common Core in general have received backlash nationwide for not being effective and fair measures of student ability and for taking up too much potential class time.
Konda said, “I think standardized testing is important to compare scores across the nation but it’s not something that should take two weeks away from school like last year’s PARCC did.
Last year over 650,000 students opted out of standardized tests across the country as a method of protest. More than 750 Sycamore students opted out of PARCC, in part accounting for the C the district received on the Ohio School Report Card. (Exams not taken were counted as zeroes.)
However for most students at SHS there is at least one benefit of testing.
Xiang said, “For actual educational purposes it might be better if we didn’t have standardized testing, or at least [if we had] a more effective version. But the extra sleeping time for some students is nice; it helps to catch up on all the lost sleep.”