ASPIRE isn’t testing anything but how quickly students can get it over with

Lydia Hawes, Rambler Staff Writer

One day a year, schools give us a free day. No student must try, but they can if they want. A lot of students skip, too, and the worst thing that can happen is being marked absent. They disguise this day with the word “testing” as a mask.  

But how is a day strictly dedicated to just testing anywhere close to a day off? That’s because these tests don’t count toward grades.  

The ASPIRE test is a test that calculates a school’s average reading, writing, math, and science scores. Students are sitting down at a desk, with a pen, paper, and laptop, and begin the tests. The tests are separated by subject and are much like the ACT. 

The only difference between the ACT and the ASPIRE test, however, is that no colleges are going to look at your ASPIRE score. In fact, the only people who look at your ASPIRE scores are the district. 

The district, then after seeing your scores, do not do much but lecture the poorly tested subjects and congratulate the better testing scores. For example, Highland is struggling in both math and science, but doing well in language arts. The math and science teachers are dealing with the district’s feedback, but the language arts department is catching a break. 

Here is the catch: these scores do not mean anything so the district telling teachers to teach better is not solving any issues. To the students who take the test, nothing is at stake. Their grades will not be affected no matter how poorly their results are, colleges will not be looking at these, and rarely do any teachers mention the scores after test day. There are not any repercussions or consequences. 

“I guess it depends on which test I’m taking. Like if my teacher is going to put it on our grade, I’ll try. But if they’re not, I kind of just guess on most of them”, sophomore Tait Diamond said. 

Majority of students agree with Diamond. If test scores do not affect them, why would they try when they can just finish the test in minutes without having to do anything but click a few buttons? Students aren’t lazy, but instead efficient. 

Like I mentioned earlier, though, teachers are affected the most by these tests. Teachers still want their students to do well, but the motivation is not there.  

“I’ll just zoom through it because it doesn’t matter.” sophomore Jeremiah Jimoh said. 

A more accurate representation of our school’s academics, and an easy way to give the Highland teachers a break from the district would just be looking at the school’s average grades. Students are much more likely to try on something that is important to them, rather than to someone else. It may sound selfish, but it makes sense. 

Looking at students’ grades instead of the ASPIRE testing would reveal to the district that Highland students really aren’t that bad. We may get lazy taking a test that every student knows doesn’t matter (at least to us), but we do care about our grades and it shows.  

Another way to measure our school that would be a much more accurate representation of our academic abilities would be to look straight at ACT scores. The ASPIRE test is just a practice ACT, but students try much harder and care much more about the ACT. The scores in the ACT are going to reflect that, which will reflect our school far better than the ASPIRE scores.