Sophomores overwhelmed by academic developments

Jimmy Ray Stagg, Web Sports Editor

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Throughout high school, there’s a kind of stigma around complaints. The seniors reserve the right to refute any complaint, having “been there, done that.” Juniors can brush the comments off due to their struggles with APs, SATs and ACTs.

Underclassmen have no rights of complaint, for fear of being laughed at/shunned by upperclassmen.

This stigma aside, my class, the current sophomores, have reason to complain.

By no means am I saying that sophomore year is the hardest year of high school. I am referring to the class of 2016, who have been given the short end of every single stick possible.

A key example is the switch to the Smarter Balanced Assessment for juniors. This switch happens to come conveniently for our grade, the year after we took the CAPT, which is being abandoned. The CAPT required us to: 1) Take time out of normal school work to study for a test that has no impact on our grades, 2) Wake up earlier than the rest of the school to take a test that has no impact on our grades, and 3) Take a test that has no impact on our grades.

Next year, we will be taking the SBAC, which will require us to: 1) Take time out of normal school work to study for a test that has no impact on our grades, 2) Wake up earlier than the rest of the school to take a test that has no impact on our grades and 3) Take a test that has no impact on our grades.

The change to the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter test also shifted the research paper from junior year to sophomore year. This incited some teachers to limit/assign topics for the paper, in order to make it easier on the students.

So, instead of having free reign to choose any argument (like the impact of social media on journalism or why Nickelodeon in the 90s was the greatest era of television in history), I, along with the majority of English 2 Honors students, had to choose a topic pertaining to, of course, school (like why standardized tests that don’t count for grades are given yearly).

This change to the SBAC, shifting of the research paper, and convenient discontinuation of CAPT will also affect the current freshmen, as well as all incoming grades below them. However, another change is going into effect for all grades following the class of 2016: an overhaul of the SATs.

According to an earlier Inklings article, the SATs will include “more everyday vocabulary, an optional analytical essay, and a more narrowly-focused math section,” and will be graded on a 1600 point scale, instead of 2400. Also, there will be no points lost for incorrect answers, while free test prep will be offered to everyone online.

These changes will be implemented in the spring of my senior year.

The year after I take my SATs. As well as the Smarter Balanced test.

I’m not saying that there is really anything that anyone can do about it. I’m simply asking that if you see sophomores, give them a hug. Tell them it’ll all be alright.

Then let them get back to writing their research papers.

 

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