For hours on end, students of all grades are expected to sit in front of a computer staring at a screen, answering question after question, all for the state’s benefit of assessing a student’s abilities. The only reason we must do this is because “the state of Oregon wanted to assess how students were doing with benchmarks of knowledge,” said Kathy Ludwig, assistant superintendent.
This is not right. The Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills should do more than just notify the state what the average testing scores were in a school: the test should benefit the student.
At West Linn High School, it is a requirement to pass all of the OAKS reading, math, writing, and science tests. In 2012, the state of Oregon made passing all of the OAKS tests a requirement for graduating high school, and the only people who failed the test were people who were not set to graduate anyway. The statistics show that all of the 1,962 seniors enrolled in Portland public high schools that were set to graduate passed all of their OAKS, and the 100 or so seniors that didn’t pass their OAKS tests were not set to graduate anyway.
At the high school level, all students who want to go to college must take tests like the SAT in order for colleges to decide whether students are qualified to attend their colleges. What is the OAKS testing for? It is so the state and the country can receive updates on how well students all over Oregon are doing. While this is important and I understand Oregon’s need for a state test, the test should benefit the student, not just the state.
Currently , when a student finishes an OAKS test, the student has no idea what they did wrong to fail it or what areas in a subject they need to work on. The OAKS test is just a test that you take and receive a score on which allows the state to assess your ability to learn and a teacher’s ability to teach; there is no advantage to taking the test for students. They sit at a computer for hours complete the test and walk away with absolutely no knowledge gained.
If Oregon law requires that each and every student must take a form of test that assesses their ability in all subjects, they should make the test so that at the end of the test it tells students exactly what areas they excel in and what areas they need improvement in. The test should also let the student revisit questions they answered incorrectly while taking the test to see the reason why they answered the question incorrectly.
Oregon law should also do away with the requirement of passing the OAKS tests in order to graduate. Taking an OAKS test requires concentration, energy and resources. If the people who don’t pass the Oaks test aren’t set to graduate anyway, what is the point to putting undue stress on all the students set to graduate?
OAKS testing is currently a complete waste of time for students; it takes away class time, and doesn’t give feedback to the student taking the test on what areas they excel at and what areas they need improvement in. The OAKS test needs to change the way it is set up; t needs to offer students the choice to look back at their tests and see which answers they answered incorrectly. If OAKS tests did this, then it would not just benefit the State. It would also benefit the student.