Testing is for the Best


Addie Wallace

School City written by Kristen Tang

Addison Wallace, Section Editor

Tests are the bane of high school existence. There is a large range of tests that students take every year in math, English, social studies, and many more. The School City benchmarks are a few of the tests that all students take throughout the school year. School City benchmarks are taken for almost every class and consist of a pretest and a post test based on the material for that class. The Colt Roundup staff was curious about these tests after taking them every year, so the staff interviewed a few students from Cottonwood to see what they knew of the benchmarks.

Sophomore, Kaisa Gibbs, was asked what she thought the SchoolCity tests were for, and her reply was, “I think that we take the tests to show our improvement over the semester, but I’ve never had that explained to me.” Another student, Kristen Tang, agreed with Gibbs stating she didn’t know why students are required to take these benchmarks. They were also asked if they felt that the tests help them become more aware of what they know and need to know for their classes. Both expressed that they don’t think the tests help with school. Tang told Colt Roundup, “I feel like many SchoolCity tests don’t correlate with what we actually learn in class.” Gibbs felt similarly, answering, “I honestly strongly dislike taking the test, and I do not think that it is very beneficial.” The Colt Roundup staff wanted to clear up the mystery around the School City benchmarks, so they reached out to someone at the Granite School District.

hey, don’t stress out about this, but it’s going on your grade, and no, you don’t get to retake it”

— Kaisa Gibbs

Colt Roundup then interviewed Rob Averett, the Director of Student Assessments in Granite School District, about the School City tests to help clarify the questions about the benchmark. Averett explained that School City is a provider of online testing, reporting, and related services. When a student takes a benchmark through School City, the test has been authored by Granite School District teacher teams and aligned to the Utah Core Standards. Averett stated that “the results of all these assessments have rich analytics for teachers to see how their students understand the subject by each of the Utah Core Standards.” This is supposed to help teachers distinguish what material to teach during the school year based on students results.

Averett also explained that the benchmarks help students with school because they can monitor their own learning. Students can use the benchmarks to help them know what material they need to focus on during the quarter. Colt Roundup also asked students Tang and Gibbs if their teachers put the benchmarks on their grades. Gibbs replied with “I would say about half of my teachers count the test towards my grade, and it really stresses me out. It’s like our teachers just throw it on us, like ‘hey, don’t stress out about this, but it’s going on your grade, and no, you don’t get to retake it.’ ” Tang felt the same. Averett replied to the same question saying it’s the teachers’ choice if they want to include the results of the benchmark as a grade or extra credit for their class.

Like it or not, the School City benchmarks are required for students and the opt-out provisions don’t apply to these benchmarks. Averett also included in the interview ,“The world respected education researcher John Hattie points out that one of the activities that most improves student learning is for students to monitor and track their own learning.” So students should use this as a learning experience of what they need to work on for the quarter.