Is the ASPIRE a Good Idea this Year?

Sophia Gillespie

Every year since elementary school, we have had to take the ACT Aspire, which is used for funding of the school and to see where the school needs to improve. This year, it will have to be a little bit different with COVID and many students doing online school. In many places, they are not doing the ACT Aspire this year because of that exact reason. Having that many kids in a room for a long time isn’t very safe and with what the governor of Arkansas is trying to do, you may not even have to wear masks then. 

With the safety of students and teachers being threatened, there’s also the stress of it that will affect students more than it already has. Getting good grades is very important to many students, and doing well on the ACT is even more important. With COVID and many students falling behind this year, it will make it even harder to get the score that they want. This is both bad for their mental health and the school. If too many students are stressed over it, they will not do well which may not provide the funding the school needs and they will not be able to get an accurate idea of how well the students are doing. Many of their students will be upset and students that are upset don’t want to learn.

From what I’ve learned, the school also plans to have all the students that have been doing online school to come back and take the test. This poses a threat because we cannot tell where they have been and if they’ve been being safe. This is going to possibly add another hundred students to the school to take this test. Even if it seems like this test does not need to be done, it is very important for seeing how well the students are doing and what the school needs to work on for their academics. Having funding for the school is very important, but there are also many other ways that we can get it other than having the test. Instead of spending a few weeks preparing for the test, we could use that time to go over the curriculum that students are having trouble with to make sure that they are ready for future work that will come from moving higher up in grades.

The ACT Aspire and standardized tests can be an inaccurate way to see how well students are doing, because many students have test anxiety and lots of the curriculum that is included, we haven’t even learned. With COVID around, it’s going to make it 10 times harder to get an accurate account of how the students are doing.  The ACT is very important, but I think this year will be best if we push it off until COVID is over.