Block schedule put in place for testing

Standardized testing season begins March 22

Abby Bartleson and Rachel Arkis

As Park approaches the spring testing season, Junior CC Peter said she is not excited for the block schedule and communication has not been clear. 

“Block scheduling is kind of pointless, especially for the kids who are not taking (tests). It’s a very stressful time, even if you are not taking any of those tests,” Peter said. “I didn’t know we had to take the MAP test until my English teacher brought up the fact that the coordinator retired so the tests were both postponed.”

Park is putting in place a block schedule for testing beginning March 22. Students will go to periods 1, 3, 5 and 7. On Wednesday, March 23, students will attend periods 2, Park Connections, and periods 4 and 6. Sophomores will be taking the Math MAP test and juniors will be taking the Math MCA test. After finishing testing, students will be put in supervised study halls where schoolwork can be completed. 

Math teacher Erik Ahlquist said he thinks block schedule is a great way for students to get their standardized testing in because of the uninterrupted time that gives students the opportunity to remain focused.

“The tests that you have to take, like the MCA and NWEA, take longer than a 45-minute class period, so rather than breaking it up, it’s easier to do just a block scheduling where students can be uninterrupted, no passing time, no commotion in the hallway every 40 minutes,” Ahlquist said. “They’ve got a 90-minute block to do it in, which should be enough time for most students to finish.” 

Since MAP/NWEA and MAP tests are taken on computers, Peter said this add a different level of stress on students

“Testing on computers is really difficult and does not show the true value of a student at all. I feel like most students do better on paper and pencil tests, me included.”

In addition to MCA and NWEA testing, juniors will be taking the ACT April 5. While juniors are testing, freshmen, sophomores and seniors will have an off-campus asynchronous day with assignments on Schoology to complete. 

Sophomore Rylie Unangst likes the idea of having an asynchronous day while juniors are taking the ACT because she can catch up on assignments and focus on her schoolwork.

“Having an asynchronous day for me is great for me and my mental health because I can get a lot of work done at home,” Unangst said.

Due to the recent retirement of testing coordinator Jami Lapray, Ahlquist believes that the district has struggled to get block scheduling up and running.

“It’s a huge job, especially in the spring, and right now, it’s falling on Ms. Busse, because it still has to happen,” Ahlquist said. “There’s super strict restrictions on what teachers that are proctoring the exams have to do and what students can have and can’t have in there, so it’s super hard as far as that goes.”