AP and CAASPP testing conflict causes problems
The overlapping CAASPP and AP test schedules have resulted in students and staff being concerned about individual grades and San Marin’s overall scores. The two tests were scheduled over the same two weeks, leading to conflict for many staff and students.
The California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, or CAASPP, is used by some colleges to help determine incoming freshmen placement. CAASPP scores also reflect the competitive nature of the school.
“There is no other universal data that measures or judges except for the CAASPP test,” Vice Principal Mike Casper said. “All the comparison of scores we hear about at district meetings are not of AP, not of MAP, but all of CAASPP scores. When we’re judged, we’re judged with CAASPP.”
When high schools have lower CAASPP scores, it can greatly impact an outsider’s view of San Marin in general, and a student’s chances of acceptance into colleges, because scores show the overall performance of the students.
In the master calendar issued in August 2017, the CAASPP tests were set for the week after spring break, two weeks before AP testing started. But after discussions with the Teacher Leadership Team, PTSA and other staff and students, Casper made the final decision to move the two week long period of CAASPP testing during AP testing.
“It’s a real calendar challenge,” Casper said. “There are equal value[s] to both tests, so we want to make sure students are comfortable, that they’re not overwhelmed.”
The CAASPP test was pushed back to ensure that each student could do their best and has more time to prepare. According to Casper, testing before spring break would have been too early for an end of the year test, and testing after would have been too stressful for students, with regards to preparation for CAASPP testing. Juniors taking AP exams took the CAASPP test after the weeks of AP testing, and the makeup tests were taken the week after the last AP exam on May 18.
Junior Kelsea Bergerson was concerned with the busy schedule.
“It is more stressful knowing I’m going to have to make up my CAASPP tests the week before Dead Week,” Bergerson said. “I think another thing conflicting with this time is the fact that final exams are so soon after CAASPP and AP tests. There are SAT and ACT tests in the first half of June as well.” Students taking AP exams took the CAASPP test after the weeks of AP testing, and the makeup tests were taken the week after the last AP exam on May 18. Testing took place on Tuesday, May 22, and Wednesday, May 23, which contrasted with the schedule that originally had juniors taking it two hours a day for four days. Initially, students were to take it on Monday and Tuesday, but they were told on Monday they would be taking all four tests on Tuesday. When students came in on Tuesday, they were told they would be taking two tests on Wednesday, in addition to two tests on Tuesday. Juniors had to report to the library by 8 a.m. and finish two tests within that day. These sudden changes frustrated many students and teachers, such as junior Collin Tarleton.
“We have a bunch of projects coming up in our classes, so those of us who took the rescheduled CAASPP tests [are going] to miss more class time than we have already lost, with the tutorials periods,” Tarleton said. “I wish we would have went with Novato’s schedule which was just a week dedicated to CAASPP testing, everyone gets it done and it’s before AP tests.”
A teacher, who wished to remain anonymous, also expressed their concern on the abrupt schedule change.
“The end of the year is a very action packed time of the year for us teachers,” the teacher said. “You’ve got students coming needing things and parents coming to you needing things. Putting the test this far back just creates more things to accomplish in the end, when you’re already cramming in everything to finish by the finish line. If we had known that this was going to be the schedule before, then we would have made appropriate plans.”