Juniors Take ISTEP for the Final Time

Melia Caroline | Reporter

In what was a sudden announcement, ISTEP rose from the dead for one last year and one final test.

​Due to COVID-19, ISTEP testing from the second semester of the previous school year was cancelled. As the months went on and a new school year began, the mere thought of ISTEP was completely dried. That is, until the middle of January; when it was announced to the junior class that they had to undergo the round of testing one more time in order to graduate.

​“I was obviously upset,” junior Ryan Nattress said. “I don’t understand why we couldn’t have adopted next year’s graduation requirement, as the SAT is more practical and widely used for colleges.”

​The school, having  to scramble to put together a viable testing plan, dedicated  the days of February 3 and 4 as testing days, with math and language arts taking place on those respective days. However, every other class got to have the day off while juniors underwent hours of testing, invoking some frustration. 

​“Seniors deserve the day off, but underclassmen on the other hand do not,” Nattress said. “I don’t understand why we still had to go one Friday, we could’ve stuck with one gold and one black day that week. The same thing happened during junior day of caring; freshmen got the day off while sophomores, who were us at the time, had to test the whole day.”

​Junior Robin Vester entered ISTEP testing in a unique situation that more people than just her underwent; she had just come back from being online for the first semester and had been immediately thrown into a standardized test after only a couple weeks at school. Despite her stress as the test got closer, Vester said the test was pretty easy, but that the overall tediousness made it an unnecessary process.

​“I was annoyed at how they dragged it on, everyone in my class finished with one-to-two hours to spare,” Vester said. “It was really annoying just sitting there when I could’ve gone home and done something productive.” 

​This year was also unique for some teachers who had previously overseen ISTEP, as it was the final ISTEP test they will ever administer. Mrs. Kirkpatrick is one of the teachers in that group, who believed that the test was necessary due to the current juniors being the last cohort to need the test to graduate.

​“I can only speak for the language arts portion of the test, but I do think it was a good test for judging whether students had gained important skills they need for their future endeavors. Students receive scores on both reading and writing, so teachers can see where kids are excelling and where they need more help,” Kirkpatrick said. 

​Throughout the school, the degree of how smoothly testing went was immensely varied. Nattress and Vester both said that there were several technical errors, from the ISTEP software failing to start to computers having errors altogether. However, that wasn’t the experience Kirkpatrick oversaw.

​“There was not any frustration for me regarding ISTEP testing. Everything ran smoothly in my classroom with my co-teacher,” Kirkpatrick said.

​In the aftermath of it all, much exhaustion and frustration brewed as students underwent a long, sudden onslaught of multiple tests for a system that is now officially dead.

“The state portrays this test as the single-handed best accomplishment ever. This test is literally dead after us, retired, done. Other requirements are taking its place for a reason,” Nattress said.

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