The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Almost all students dread taking tests. Only the ambitious few look forward to page after page of math, English, science, and interpretation questions.
And then there's the anxiety over the results and the wondering if they've done well enough. And, of course, the grade.
Testing is going to be a big part of life at West Central High School next week as the students encounter the annual Illinois achievement examinations.
Known as the Prairie State Achievement Exam, or PSAE for short, this state-wide required test seeks to determine the levels of achievement of 11th grade students across the entire state of Illinois. The test is administered over two days - Day 1 is the ACT, and Day 2 is the Work Keys which is more vocationally oriented.
Taken together, the two days of tests give schools a good indication of the level of achievement of the students ... and the performance of the school in terms of helping students to achieve state learning standards.
Test results, however, benefit the students as well. Many colleges use the ACT scores from Day 1 as part of their admission process, and an increasing number of businesses are asking for student performance on the Work Keys part of the test as part of the hiring process.
So, as important as the student scores are to the school as a tool to measure school performance, the students themselves can gain a great deal through adequate performance on the tests.
A few test-taking strategies have proven to be useful over the years, and these are some tactics wise students use to improve their scores. Smart test-taking never hurts.
At West Central, the Juniors are not the only class undergoing testing next week.
The 9th grade students will be taking a test called the EXPLORE test, and the 10th grade students will be taking the PLAN test. Both tests are similar to the junior-level tests given over two days.
Each of these tests is completed in one day; both give the students and the school a picture of progress toward meeting State of Illinois learning standards.
West Central High School has a mission of "providing opportunity and expecting excellence." The school testing program gives teachers and administrators a better picture of what students have learned and the issues that the school has yet to address in order to achieve the goal of excellence.