Categorized | Features

Under Pressure

By Lucy Paiste, Editor in Chief

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, SOL season. Last year, WHS administration decided to switch the SOL testing dates to the week before break. The alternative option would be to schedule testing for the week after we come back from break. That does give teachers an extra week to go through the material, but it does present the challenge of having a two week long break between when the material is taught and when the students are tested. SOL testing coordinator Mrs. Barber said that the reason for this change was because some teachers had expressed that the students would remember more if they took the test with the information fresh in their heads.

“The students leave at the break time and they come back having had two weeks off and as much as we’d all like to think that you all go home and spend an hour each day studying, we know that that doesn’t happen,” Barber explained. “While that break is nice, students are maybe not doing as much studying and reviewing with the work. It’s hard when you first come back after break and say ‘Surprise, you have to take an SOL test.’”

Last year was the first year that administration wanted to try giving the test before winter break, Barber added. WHS administration does feel like they have seen a difference in the scores from last year to this.

Each year the Department of Education posts a school report card that clearly display the schools and their results, organized by category. This report card displays a report for the entire school years results, which includes any SOL tests taken in the spring. This chart shows the progression from the 2013-2014 school year to the 2014- 2015 school year

Although these

fhjfdfhdfhgdkhjdjAlthough these numbers encompass the entire year of SOL’s, a positive change can be noticed from year to year.

Some teachers feel, however, that it would be more beneficial to students to have the 1st semester tests held after our holiday vacation.

“I like doing [the SOL’s] after break because it gives teachers more time to cover more material. I personally don’t think that a student who has really learned the material is going to forget everything in 2 weeks. I know some people may not agree with that, but that is my personal opinion,” said Mrs. Konizer, a chemistry teacher at WHS. “The break gives students time to study a little bit because right now things are just so crammed in.”

Konizer brought up the point that with the holiday break approaching, there are lots of things distracting students from studying for their SOL’s

“The concert choir has a concert this weekend, there’s sports, everybody is just overwhelmed with the amount of work and extracurricular activities. There may be guests coming in to the family home and brothers and sisters coming home from college and it just makes it really hard for students who are trying to do their best, to find the time to really and truly give it their all,” Konizer said.

When asked if it was more beneficial to have the SOL tests before or after break, Mrs. Meade said “It’s not so much doing the test before or after break, as it is the amount of time we have to get the material in. Because we haven’t changed the semester, we have about 2 weeks less to teach the same amount of material and that’s making it really hard.” Meade thought that although this was a problem that is going to be hard for her to deal with in the next few weeks, it wouldn’t have much of an affect after that “It’s really a moot point,” said Meade. “Next year that is the reason that they are changing the schedule and we are starting school about a week earlier. Next year and even next semester this shouldn’t be an issue. It’s really just affecting us right now.”

So, teachers and students alike rejoice! Everyone work hard and make one final push for this winter SOL and we will never have to deal with cramming material before an SOL again. Next summer is going to be a short one, but a year from now, teachers won’t even be thinking about the pressure to fit loads of material into a shorter amount of time.

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