Yes, Keystone Assessments Are Happening

Here’s what students and staff had to say about it

By: Kiara Jones

On Monday, March 1st, Ms. Morningstar spread the word through email about Salisbury High School being required to administer Keystone Assessments for this year.

Students who are eligible for the Keystone Assessments would have taken the following courses in the first semester: biology, 10th grade English, algebra I, or algebra/geometry II. These students are required to take a scheduled Keystone Assessment if the listed first semester courses apply to them.

Freshman students Olivia Bowersox and Mason Dickert both have different yet similar perspectives on Keystone Assessments being required this year. Olivia stated, “I think with all the chaos, kids should be excused. There’s enough pressure as is with our difficult learning schedule.” Mason expressed, “I feel like the Keystones should not be given this year. The students may have forgotten the information they learned last semester.” 

As for math teacher Mr. Hahn, he stated, “I do not believe Keystone Assessments should be required for this school year. In the midst of a global pandemic, students should not be expected to take a standardized test. The amount of learning gaps that have taken place over the last year are significant and unprecedented. Teachers were forced to teach in a way they never have before, and students were forced to learn in a way they never have before. …but testing them to do so is inappropriate at this time. The scores and results will be unrepresentative of the students’ capabilities.”

This year being different than the previous years, every student must be in school at the regular time on testing days. In the past, the school day would be delayed for students who were not testing.

Senior Kellan Jones stated, “If students don’t have to take the test it’s a waste of time for them to be in there. If they’re not going to take the test, why would they go to school?”

English teacher Mrs. Butterbaugh shared her opinion saying, “I think this schedule works best because there has been enough disruption to the teaching modules.  For me, I’m only missing a few students here and there, so I can easily catch up with those students like we do during our normal December testing window.”

However, she also stated, “If there were more students testing right now then I would support the previous late start schedule for logistical purposes.”

Mr. Hahn had a different perspective about this newly added change, he said, “I want to see as many of my students as frequently as possible. …I value any time I can get with them. We need more time than ever to learn the content and develop our knowledge. ….more importantly, we need more time to interact with one another. We have all spent way too much time in isolation without connecting with other people. Sure, school is important to learn the content and acquire specific intellectual knowledge; but it is even more important to develop interpersonal skills. We have sat at home enough recently.”

 SHS principal, Ms. Morningstar, shared her opinion and how the Keystone Assessments are going so far. She stated, “Because the number of students taking Keystones is limited by virtue of our current schedule and we’re able to use a large group instruction area to successfully accommodate the number of students testing each day, I don’t think having other students in the building while students are taking Keystones creates a hardship. Because of the flexibility of both students and teachers, we’re off to a smooth start!”

Students have been through and overcome so many obstacles in this very unprecedented past year. Even after all that has happened, they have come out stronger. Some students may not feel prepared or want to take the Keystone Assessments but they sure have the ability and the strength they’ve gained this past year to handle anything that comes their way.