At 8:25 a.m. on Tuesday morning, a portion of the junior class sat down to their first round of SBAC while the rest congregated in the field house. 48% of Staples juniors chose to opt out of the testing.
This is the first year Staples has decided to implement SBAC, and with it came a snag in student participation. Assistant Principal Patrick Micinilio said some students did not participate for “a multitude of reasons,” including the fact that SBAC is not technically required for this junior class.
“They’ve already successfully completed CAPT, which is their graduation requirement,” Micinilio said.
Aidan Wisher ’16 was among the students who did not participate. “There was no point in taking the test if it wasn’t a graduation requirement,” Wisher said. Danielle Johnston ’16 also opted out and joined Wisher as well as much of the junior class in the field house.
“It was like a two hour-free which was actually really nice to do work and start to prep for finals,” Johnston said. Prior to Tuesday morning, parents of Johnston, Wisher and other juniors who opted out emailed the administration to notify them that their children would not be participating in SBAC.
By last Monday, Principal John Dodig had received less than 20 such emails, but this number rose to upwards of 100 on Friday and “those numbers just swelled over the weekend,” Micinilio said.
Although some parents allowed their children to opt out of SBAC, many did not. Jack Schenck ’16 participated in the testing but “didn’t take it seriously,” he said. “I could have shut my computer half way through and it wouldn’t have made a difference.”
Gabby Perry ’16 also decided to participate in SBAC but answered the questions with a mix of legitimate answers and “random answers” since “[SBAC] doesn’t count towards anything,” she said. Perry recalled that some people wrote song lyrics as answers and others wrote about their lives.
Although not all of the students who participated put effort into their tests, Micinilio applauds those who did not opt out and appreciates those who did treat the first round of SBAC like any other standardized test.
“Not to disparage the kids who didn’t take it, but those kids who showed up today and really gave it their all, that’s awesome,” Micinilio said. “I respect that.”
Moving forward, the administration is looking to legitimize student participation. “Beginning with the class of 2017,” Director of Secondary Education James D’Amico said. “All students will be required to meet goal on CAPT Science and on SBAC English Language Arts and Math.”