How Accurate the SBAC Really Is

How Accurate the SBAC Really Is

Amelia Wignall, Journalist, Editing Board Member

It’s the end of the school year, so all students in Washington, and around the country, are taking the annual SBAC test. Each student must take four tests, two language arts, and two math tests. These tests are taken on the school computers and don’t count toward the student’s final grade, but these scores are recorded and can be accessed by the student’s high school and college. While some students don’t have any issues with SBAC testing, others feel strongly against it.  

Student and teacher opinions on SBAC testing: 

“I think that it’s really beneficial to get a measurement of the students’ learning so the teachers can improve, but I don’t actually think that it teaches students anything,” Kate Herndon, a 7th grader said. 

“I believe that SBAC testing is detrimental to the learning environment. I believe this because it takes up a lot of time, and it is an unneeded source of stress for students,” 7th grader, Ben St. John explained. 

“As a language arts teacher, I think I’m somewhere in the middle on it, and I think it helps kids prepare how to take a state test because they have to take SATs a couple of years later, at least for the 8th graders. I don’t like the tracking that comes along with it, so kids who don’t do very well… I don’t like that they use those state tests to track kids into higher or lower classes that may not necessarily fit their needs since it’s only a couple days of testing,” Ms. Boswell, the 7th and 8th grade Language Arts teacher responded. 

The SBAC tests generally cause lots of stress among students because of the pressure put on students to do well and remember everything they’ve been taught. Some teachers do a mini review of all the topics the week before testing starts, and I’ve found that this causes lots of anxiety. The review reminds the students of everything that they’re supposed to know, and sometimes they don’t remember everything which makes them feel bad about themselves and their knowledge. 

When students show up to school on a testing day, they go to their classroom where they will spend the rest of the school day. They sit down at a desk and don’t stand up until both they and their peers are done testing. Their eyes are glued to a screen, taking a test on the same subject for hours at a time. While middle schoolers may be able to handle this, the younger kids have a difficult time focusing, and their scores are lower than their knowledge actually represents. 

When older students take the SBAC tests and see other students finishing, they feel pressure to finish earlier than when they’re done and try to rush their test, so it looks like they’re done when they’re not. This makes their scores suffer severely and also makes people dread the SBAC testing and process. 

In conclusion, SBAC testing is not an accurate representation of what an individual student can actually do. The tests cause lots of stress and pressure to do well, so lots of students’ scores suffer and when the state collects the information, it’s not 100% correct. While SBAC testing can be beneficial so the state can know how its school-aged youth are doing, it also isn’t completely accurate and causes lots of anxiety among students, making it more detrimental than not.