Pack’s Secret to the SBAC

Jaysen Ford, Staff Writer

This year, scores for the SBAC test, a standardized test that all Juniors take, raised significantly. In the 2017-2018 school year, about 50% of Juniors met or exceeded the ELA standard. Last year, about 60% of students did the same. The question is, however, what factors contributed to this improvement, and why does it matter? Students are prepared for the SBAC through exercises and teaching done in class. Jennifer Reynolds, an 11th grade teacher who’s taught here for four years, says that, “The lessons, what we do every day, that’s what prepares them for the SBAC.”
The purpose of the SBAC, like many standardized tests, is to measure students’ progress in their high school career. Students can use the SBAC test in a number of ways to do this. “They could see the areas that they did well in, the areas they’re lacking in and then they can see exactly where they need work,” said Reynolds. Reynolds says that once juniors get into their senior year, students can work on those areas more rather than something they’re already good at.
The SBAC’s importance and its meaning in terms of how well students are learning aren’t as simple as the average numbers. Since colleges are now looking at SBAC scores when considering students, preparation for the SBAC, and the results of the test, have taken on a new importance.
According to Ridgeview’s Principal, Steve Holmes, “What we’ve asked teachers to do, specifically in the English department, is that in each grade level they work together to decide what is important for kids to learn.” Holmes says that test scores go up when what teachers think is essential to learn is stressed. “If they agree on what’s most important for kids to learn, the test scores will take care of themselves. We look at the results, but we don’t want that to determine this other part of what’s important for kids to learn for their future”, says Holmes. He adds, “We’ve been trying to take this approach about determining what’s important for over ten years,” says Holmes when asked of what has caused improvement.  “There’s all kinds of other measures of student achievement that I want them to look at. This test is just a really small piece of the puzzle,” added Holmes.