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Opinion: Take Your CAASPP Tests Seriously

Last Monday and Tuesday, M-A juniors completed the first section of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). The dreaded 11th-grade standard is split into the California Science Test and the ELA and Math Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments. Fortunately, we have already completed our ELA portion; however, we still have three more days of testing to go.

Many of us are already fatigued by testing. Junior year is strenuous and stressful enough as is. The CAASPP can feel futile in the grand scheme of your academic career. After all, it doesn’t have any impact on your course grades.

I completely understand the urge to skip or simply give up. However, I strongly encourage you to show up and try your best on the next two rounds of testing. Here’s why:

  1. You will have to take it eventually: Unless your parent or guardian submits an official form to excuse you from the CAASPP, completing it is inevitable. The test collects necessary data for the state about our school’s performance, and as such is mandatory for every California student. Essentially, your options are to take it during the time allotted by the school or to take it at a later date that will force you to miss your other classes. So the next time you want to grab Starbucks instead of taking the CAASPP, consider how future you is going to feel when you’re forced to make the test up while your work from other classes piles up.
  2. Believe it or not, your score matters: Shocking, I know, but your performance actually impacts our school’s funding and your chances in secondary education. If M-A juniors don’t display a certain amount of academic growth, the school could eventually lose access to certain state funding and even be shut down. While M-A’s CAASPP scores have historically remained high, it’s important we continue to boast our school’s exemplary academics. Additionally, CAASPP scores indicate M-A’s level of academic rigor to universities. If we perform well, then colleges will infer that our classes have more advanced curriculums that are harder to earn good grades in. Therefore, your grades will look better given they are from a more challenging school. Your scores also play a more direct role in the CSU system and for certain community college admissions. At the end of the CAASPP sections, you have the option to let CSUs and certain community colleges see your scores. In this way, your performance on the CAASPP serves as another metric of your academic capabilities for those schools to use in admissions decisions.
  3. Practice makes perfect: Testing is a fact of life for every junior. Whether it’s unit exams, the SAT, the ACT, or the looming AP season, you’re going to have to take plenty more assessments in high school. The CAASPP is the perfect opportunity to practice completing long, grueling tests. Learning to focus and perform consistently for a lengthy period of time is a valuable skill for your academic performance across the board. To get the most out of state testing, go in with goals beyond just high scores, such as improving your time management skills or quickening your comprehension speed.

No matter how you feel about standardized testing, it’s important to give it your best effort. I wish all my fellow juniors the best of luck with the rest of the CAASPP. Let’s put this arduous rite of passage behind us feeling proud of our performance.

Dylan Lanier

Dylan is a junior at M-A and hopes to write stories that bring awareness to local issues. In his free time he enjoys reading and running cross country.

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