Online learning: Friend or foe?

By: Caroline Franklin

Georgia students, think back to late April. Do you remember the news that we would be required, by the state, to take the Georgia Milestones? The uproar it caused among students, teachers, and parents were astronomical.

In addition to students preparing for finals, the academic load of reviewing for the Milestones added to the stress already thick in the air of Georgia schools, upon entering finals season.

“Georgia Milestones caused me to be really stressed out from the first day of school, to the day that I actually took the test. Personally, I believe standardized tests do not measure how intelligent someone is. Many people, including myself, suffer from test anxiety, which can lower my performance.” Says Giana Levy, a junior at Arabia Mountain High School in Lithonia, Georgia.

The same is true across the board. Test scores had to be given a very high curve in order for students to receive a passing grade. Students have always feared the time of year (late April to early May) when the CRCT, a test that students took second-eighth grade, came around. However, in an effort to become more technologically advanced system, the state decided to make the switch online, and require all grades to take the test. From third grade to twelfth grade, all students in attendance to public school were forced to test. In some cases, the grade from the test counted anywhere from fifteen percent to thirty percent of a student’s final grade.

Many students found the test both inconvenient and tiresome. Although they relieved the stress of taking EOCTS (end of course tests), it meant that staying in school for the rest of the year became boring and full of busy work for students, not to mention the giant toll the online test took on their grades.

Numerous teachers expressed annoyance about they test, because they had no idea what was going to be on them. The teachers had a general idea of the test, as in they knew which sections you were allowed to use a calculator on, and that was it. The only preparation they could do to prepare their classes was to print off their entire curriculum from the year and hand it to the students. This raises the question, is it fair for students to have to take a test their teacher can’t even prepare them for?

Then, you have the issue of cheating. Students were crowded into computer labs to take the same test as the person beside them, on a large monitor, with large print, no less. If a student is unprepared and nervous, they become more and more inclined to cheat on an important test.

If the state education board thinks that a standardized test is crucial to decipher just how intelligent our state’s youth is, then maybe next year they’ll think of a way for the test to become much lest ominous and stressful.