A few weeks ago BSA’s freshmen had to take a test the likes of which they had only faced once before– the I-Ready. Instituted last school year, the I-Ready tests math and english skills and is supposed to provide teachers with information about what their students do and do not know. Though the I-Ready attempts to make the test “fun” with a friendly cartoon instructor and breathing meditation, many students would say that they do not enjoy taking standardized tests at all. Teachers also dislike these tests, because they take up valuable class time. So on September 22, 2016, four teachers from BSA, along with the principals of City, Poly, and Western, went to North Avenue to meet with the Chief Academic Officer, in order to protest the required test.
Instead of having students take the I-Ready, the teachers and administrators proposed that teachers use PSAT data to see where their students are academically. They gave three arguments about why the I-Ready is unnecessary for our school. The first is that it is “redundant.” There is no need for students to take yet another test when we already have measurement tools in place: the PSAT and the placement tests the freshmen took back in May. The second reason is that this test is geared toward elementary and middle school students; it’s below our maturity level. The third and final reason given was that by adding the I-Ready, standardized testing takes 5% of our time in school, as opposed to the 2% we’re supposed to have, according to Mr. Ventimiglia and Mr. Askey.
Despite all of these well-thought-out arguments, the school officials still denied BSA’s request to opt out. Mr. Ventimiglia and Mr. Askey, two of the teachers who went to meet with the Chief Academic Officer, said that the negotiations were “like a dance.” They said that the school officials didn’t want to appear to be too easygoing, but they also didn’t want to be too harsh. So it’s still an open issue; but in the meantime, we have to take the I-Ready. Apparently, North Avenue officals were “enlightened” by our teachers’ presentation, though, so maybe next year we won’t have to take this time-consuming test. Until then, we’ll just have to do it. Or conveniently get sick on the day of the next test: whatever works.