- Nebraska Education Commissioner Matthew Blomstedt recently adopted the ACT the state's high school test to make it more relevant to students and their families, according to The Hechinger Report.
- Blomstedt still wants students to participate in a series of tests year-round to routinely gather data and measure growth, with the additional caveat that these tests would also be better aligned to what is being taught in classrooms.
- He believes this idea — which isn’t yet implemented —will eventually take the pressure off students so they don’t have everything riding on just one final test at the end of the year.
High school students seem to leapfrog from one high-stakes test to another, particularly as they enter their sophomore and junior years. The stress of these exams — which are usually offered just once a year and often can’t be repeated — is all-consuming, sometimes impacting student performance negatively. Stress, it seems, can actually affect the brain and not for the better, wrote Psychology Today.
“So, what does this mean for stressed out high-school seniors,” wrote researchers. “First off, putting too much emphasis on a test may carry consequences beyond the exam room.”
Curriculum chiefs can work to change that model and potentially stitch assessments more regularly into the school year, giving students multiple opportunities to prove themselves rather than relying on one exam, given over a handful of hours, once a year.