The Uninvited Return Of The CAASPP Test

It was recently announced that CAASPP testing will be making a return. This has caused a bunch of students, teachers and parents to voice their opinions on the statewide testing in the middle of a pandemic.

CAASPP, California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, was established in 2014 and replaced the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program that started in 2013. It is a state academic test program that is used to give information that monitors students’ progress and helps to ensure that students leave high school ready for college and careers.

Last year, the CAASPP test was not taken due to the pandemic. Many students, including me, celebrated as it was one less thing to worry about as junior year was already stressful enough. It really didn’t affect the juniors, since colleges don’t even look at CAASPP scores. Energy is better put into study for tests like AP, SAT and ACT, even though now colleges no longer require SAT and ACT scores for admission.

No one likes these standardized tests. They take away teaching time and give students unneeded stress, causing them to not care or try most of the time. I know many of us have walked into a standardized test with no preparation, not really caring how we did, since we knew that it was not going to affect our grade in the class.

Junior year is already the most stressful year for high school students. It’s the year that colleges look the most into and is the year that most kids are taking the hardest classes. Adding the CAASPP test is a pointless stressor that makes kids even more anxious. By simply looking at the classes a student is taking and their grades, I think it is pretty easy to monitor their progress and make sure they are ready for the future, which is exactly what the CAASPP test is meant to be for.

There has also been much debate on the fairness and reliability of using standardized tests. This is why many colleges no longer require SAT and ACT scores when you apply. Standardized tests are known for being biased. They favor those with an upper socioeconomic status since those are the people who are more likely to spend the money for tutors, studying supplies and practice exams. So why are we still using the CAASPP when standardized tests have already been proven to be unfair? It makes no sense to get rid of some and keep others.

Just as the cherry on top, we are in the middle of a global pandemic. Every student across California is in a different situation. Some are all online, some are hybrid, some are high risk for Covid, some are economically struggling and some are facing other stressors brought on by the pandemic. And now the state wants them to add a test on top of that? Students are already working so hard this year trying to learn online, keep their grades up and fight against burnout. Not to mention scores will probably be down because, let’s face it, we are not retaining as much information as we would in a normal school year. The CAASPP test is like shooting an animal that’s already down. We are all struggling enough already, we should not be expected to do more than just try to survive this year.

If the CAASPP test absolutely has to come back for whatever reason, the state should at least wait until the pandemic is completely over and people are back on their feet. When people feel safe again and can return to school, it makes more sense to start the exam again. In my opinion, I think we should just stop the CAASPP test all together or it can be something that students can sign up to take if they want, like what has been done with the SAT and ACT.