In April of last year, juniors took a trial run of the new Common Core based testing called the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). The test was completed on computers, setting a new precedent after ‘bubble tests’ had been the norm with the California Standardized Tests (CST). Now, schools across the nation, including Foothill, have received their SBAC scores.
Because many juniors had Advanced Placement testing around the same time, some chose to opt out of the SBAC testing. This worried administration because previous state testing required at least 95 percent of the class had to take it to get results.
According to Foothill principal Joe Bova, 226 juniors tested out of the 241 in the entire class. This made Foothill’s total participation 93.8 percent.
Although Foothill did not have the 95 percent required, schools were not held to the same standards this year concerning the amount of students who had to take it.
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“It doesn’t look like they held that against anybody because it was the first year test and there was all this craziness and […] there were tons of schools across the country where like all the kids just opted out,” Bova said
“So we did really well considering. I don’t see that there are going to be any penalties for that,” Bova said.
Foothill received good scores compared to the district. Unlike the CST, the SBAC has four categories that students fall into based on their scores: Standard Exceeded, Standard Met, Standard Nearly Met and Standard Not Met.
In the Language Arts Portion, 81 percent of students fell in in either of the first two categories and only 4 percent did not meet the standard. In the Ventura Unified School District, 57 percent of students met or exceeded the standard.
In math, 45 percent of Foothill juniors met or exceeded the standard compared to Ventura Unified with 28 percent.
History teacher Cherie Eulau was not surprised that Foothill did well in the English sections of the test.
“For English Language Arts and for Social Studies we’ve already been doing a lot of that, which is why our students did so well,” Eulau said. “Whether it’s more document based questions, we do a lot of analysis. We expect pretty high level thinking so I think that’s part of the reason we were so successful.”
The test also pushed students to recall previous knowledge.
Senior Jarrett Baldwin said that “it brought back a lot of subjects that [he] wasn’t familiar with anymore. So [he thinks] that it would be good just for students to have to gain some further knowledge on some things that they might have forgotten from the past.”
Staff and students alike feel that although there has been opposition to it, the SBAC is beneficial to students.
Senior Natalie Hendrix thinks that all juniors should take it: “It did kind of hinder us in the AP classes but if we could somehow get over the timing of it […] I don’t see any reason why not to take it.”
“I think there is value in the test and it’s a much better test than the old CST that we had,” Eulau said.
Featured Photo Credit: Gabrialla Cockerell/The Foothill Dragon Press