AzMERIT is coming, but where will the seniors be?


photo by newspaper adviser Damien Tippett

Mug shot of staff reporter Molly Ogden.

Fourth quarter is easily one of the most stressful quarters in a high schooler’s life. What with final grades and final exams, along with graduation and planning for the future for seniors, students have much on their academic plate. Unfortunately, there is an elephant in the room as well: mandated testing.

Mandated testing is like eating vegetables as a child: everyone tells you that they are good for you, but they are a bit of a beast to swallow. These tests include AIMS for freshmen and sophomores, the ACT for juniors, civics test retakes for juniors, and the AzMERIT test for freshman, sophomores, and juniors.

This year, the district has decided to have the AzMERIT test to the morning, and have classes start after the test. And even though seniors do not have to take the test, some are being put at a fork in the road. Because zero hour is still in place for the testing day, many seniors with a zero hour have a decision to make: come for zero hour and then sit and wait at school during the AzMERIT test, or miss zero hour during this crucial time of the year?

Assistant principal Joe Greene commented that “the reality is that about 95% of the seniors [won’t come to zero hour.]”

This is definitely a probable outcome. Afterall, it does not make sense to try to quarantine a large group of teenagers at school with nothing to do. Where is the logic in that? That just sounds like pure chaos.

Government teacher Angela Gardner is one of the teachers whose students will be faced with this decision come Tuesday morning. Gardner stated, “AzMERIT is going to affect [my student’s] work load. Everything is rushed. We are in panic mode [for the AP test], so we are going to have to move at a quicker pace.”

The fact of the matter is that this is not the school’s doing. Greene commented that “if we were to cut zero hour, we would fall short of the mandated time for zero hour. Zero hour barely skids by as it is. Last year, we had such a bad turnout [with the the late testing], so now the district said to do it in the morning. The district made that call.”

The district is obviously, and rightly, concerned with students “opting-out” of the test, but changing the testing time is not the solution. Freshmen, sophomores and juniors could easily come to school at the late-start time and miss the test this way as well.

As Gardner pointed out, with AP testing coming up, many seniors in zero hour need as much time as possible in order to prepare for testing. But many seniors also have jobs, and could use that time in the morning to clock in a few hours, and then make their way to school for the late start.

This situation is incredibly inconvenient; there is no doubt about that. Whether the school does a late start or an early release, someone is going to be hung out to dry. It seems that everything is becoming too complicated. But in this time of great excitement in the year, complications are the last on anyone’s list. Simplicity is crucial for a smooth boat to the end of the year.