Sophomores Thoughts on SBA


Elizabeth Shapley, Staff Writer

SBA stands for Smarter Balanced Assessment. In Washington state, sophomores in high school are required to take this standardized test in order to graduate. The sophomores begin testing this month and many of them would rather do anything else. “I would rather not do the SBA if given the chance. I would much rather study things that interest me than take a standardized test on topics that don’t while sitting in a quiet room for hours,” said Isaac Waite.

Sophomore Blair Jarman feels the test tests on materials learned too long ago. “For the SBAs, my personal least favorite thing about them is being in a silent room with a whole bunch of people for hours, because it feels like time is going so slow and the test hurts your brain. Also, having to scroll through my brain to find information I learned two years ago, that isn’t really fun,” Jarman said. “I’m least looking forward to the math one because of this. Especially for people in higher grade math classes, you kind of forget all the math that it’s testing you on, or you only know what it’s been built on,” Jarman said.

Other sophomores are planning to opt out of either the math or English test and are taking a different class to fulfill the requirement instead. “Personally, I find it an annoying thing you have to do to graduate. I know to some extent it has to do with school funding but in general standardized testing is a useless way to test people on their knowledge,” Emilie Taylor said. “I’m planning on opting out of the English one as I will be taking English 101 next year and it is frustrating that staff continue to tell me I should take it anyway. In no way does standardized testing reflect my knowledge properly, it just causes added anxiety on top of the anxiety I already have around school,” Taylor said.

Meanwhile, some people don’t have as much of feeling either way. “I don’t really have any strong opinions on it. I mean, testing is testing, so I gotta just go with it and treat it like any other test, but I don’t think there’s anything I particularly despise about it,” Raleigh Gleason said.

A lot of sophomores are not looking forward to the testing as it seems unfair towards different groups. “I really hate the idea of standardized testing, it’s not like everyone learns the same way, so you can’t make a standardized test that assumes we do. I don’t think it’s a good measure of our intelligence and I think it negatively impacts anyone with a mental illness or disability, and people without, but especially people with,” Vox Weaver said.

However, there are also some people who enjoy the test and see it as a way to better themselves. “For me, I do enjoy the SBA because it shows you where you are at academically, and it’s interesting to look at some of the problems and questions that’s on there. I get easily distracted in group testing, so I felt the SBA can also give me a chance to practice having high levels of concentration under these circumstances,” Elena Chen said. “I’d say I’m looking forward to taking both the English and math sections this year–I personally do find some of the essays fun to read on the English portion when taking it last year, and for math, it has been one of my favorite subjects,” Chen said.