Keystones over at Haverford – Forever!
Note: This is a satirical article
January 16, 2015
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Students are ready to rejoice in the halls- the Pennsylvania State legislature has struck down the law requiring standardized testing. The news came three days into the allotted testing period at Haverford, much to the chagrin of many students and proctors, but many are nonetheless excited.
The Keystones were first put into place by Governor Tom Corbett, and in the past year, it became mandatory for students to pass the tests, in order for the school to meet state standards. The Keystones assess a student’s test-taking ability in the subject areas of Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry, Literature, English Composition, Biology, Chemistry, U.S. History, and Civics and Government. However, students at HHS only had to take part of and pass the Algebra 1, Literature, and Biology Keystones. Now, they are required to take none.
In a statement released on Monday by the new governor Tom Wolfe, who was elected in 2014:
“Requiring students to put themselves under such stress in ridiculous and unnecessary. The only ones who benefit from the testing are not the students, or the teachers, or the schools, but singularly the state money bags. Let a student show their academic prowess by their grades, and how they treat and respect their education,”
By Tuesday the new law stopping the Keystones was put into effect, and on Wednesday, January 14, Principal Nesbitt of HHS made the announcement to students and teachers school wide.
“I was so relieved- I’ve been worried about the Bio Keystone since I heard I had to take the others last year in ninth grade. I was actually watching a television show on Monday with my family when Governor Wolfe’s announcement was made, and I turned to my parents, and asked if that meant I didn’t have to take the Keystone, and they weren’t sure, but then Dr. Nesbitt gave the all clear…. I’m so relieved!” said an ecstatic Ashley Berns, a sophomore who already took and passed the Algebra 1 and Literature Keystones in her freshman year- they will not play a part in her graduation.
However, students who have already taken the test- the school began testing on Wednesday, January 7th- are less than thrilled at the recent announcement.
“I mean, I’m actually sorta pissed off,” began Nico Carlisle, a sophomore who just completed all but one section of the mandatory Keystones the day the announcement was made.
“I’ve had to spend all this time taking these tests, worried about how I’m going to do on them, and then they tell me it’s for nothing? The tests I took should at least help me get into a good college, or count for something. I’m glad for other students who don’t have to take the tests, but it’s really aggravating for those of us who have already completed them.”
Carlisle was not alone in his irritation; over half of the sophomores at HHS- the first class that the state testing has been required for in order to graduate- have completed the testing, and are up in arms about the recent development. Teachers, as well, are split on the decision to end the testing.
“I thought that the tests were good for the students to take- the tests made them think and reflected how much they had learned. It was a good assessment of the students, teachers, and the school. And for another thing, how are they going to measure the school’s level of achievement? If there are no tests to measure that, than they need to figure out something quickly in order to resolve that hole in their brilliant plan,” said history teacher Mrs. Jackson, who was mildly perturbed at the announcement. On the other hand, teachers are relieved for the students, and for themselves;
“The students don’t have to come in and put themselves under stress, and on top of that, I won’t have to come in and proctor any more standardized tests! It’s such a relief to be able to focus on actual lesson plans instead of trying to prepare the students for the Keystones,” said Ms. Barrett, an English teacher who has been teaching at Haverford for three years.
Regardless of where students and teachers stand on the issue of standardized testing, they are over and done with at HHS.