The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Our Readers Speak

May 26, 2014

Our Readers Speak — Monday, May 26, 2014

Test scores should impact students too

My name is Crystal Rupe. I am proud to be a classroom teacher of 26 years. I teach sixth grade at Independence Middle School. I take pride in my job and respect the challenge of teaching my students.

No longer can I remain silent about decisions being made for our educational system. My students completed the WESTEST this past week, and I am frustrated. I have seen many standardized tests come and go. Teachers and schools are held accountable for these scores, but who are the true stakeholders?

I have witnessed students completing portions of the test in less than 15 minutes. Most should take an average student an hour. Students know the scores have no bearing on passing a class, are not used as a percentage of a grade or required on a college application. Students are not held accountable for their scores at all!

Students take the test in May. They receive a single-page report the following September. Some of these reports go home, but many are left in lockers or the recycling bin, never seen by the parents.

We teachers must use the scores for analysis, then prioritize curriculum, generate reteach lessons, confer with students, and plan as teams to meet the needs of individual students. We may analyze and reanalyze data, then pretest and post-test to show growth, but are these test scores true indicators of student strengths and weaknesses? Are our efforts in vain?

The Register-Herald ran an article about a new “grading system.” Schools will be graded A-F, based on student scores, attendance rates and graduation rates. When a school is graded based on student performance, it is akin to telling the minister he can’t enter Heaven due to the sins of the flock. Florida has already proven this system ineffective.

Research shows that higher-performing school districts require students to pass a basic skills test to pass a grade level or to graduate. Yes, accountability for the stakeholders: the students themselves!

I am asking those in authority to address this accountability issue for the students of West Virginia. We are supposed to be preparing students for the real world. Colleges require that you work toward goals. Workplaces demand that you are accountable for the job you are assigned. We need a joint effort among teachers, parents, community, government and students in order to be successful.

Please help us help our students to see the importance in their scores, their goals and their future. Then, all our schools will be able to make the grade!

Crystal Rupe

Raleigh County Schools

Time to say thanks, remember heroes

With Memorial Day nearing it is time to reflect on veterans who lost their lives and on the disabled.

I’m forever grateful for those who returned safely and for the men and women who continue to serve.

This is the time to remember our heroes. Thank you for my freedom.

Evelyn Martin

Pineville

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