According to the board of education that gives the tests in Pennsylvania, the Keystone exams are a way to judge how well a school is educating its students, and also whether students have learned the content.
However, many students, teachers and families disagree with the practice of standardized testing for a variety of reasons.
Many of the objections include that standardized testing hasn’t improved students improvement, they are unreliable way to show students performing, and it causes stress for younger students.
In Pennsylvania, students can opt out of standardized tests by writing a letter to the superintendent or principal explaining that they want to opt out of it.
The Philadelphia Student Union has made a website at www.morethanatest.wordpress.com that shows SLA students and even teachers having up signs to say why they are more than a test.
The site features numerous students and teachers holding signs saying why they are more than a test with the hashtag more than a test at the bottom.
I interviewed Senior, Nomi Martin- Brouillette, the creator of the website to learn more about the website and why she made the website and choices the way she did.
What was the inspiration for the More Than A Test website?
We were inspired by the opt-out movement that is growing in Philly and across the nation and wanted to do something about the Keystones being a graduation requirement.
Why did you choose to put Mrs. Menasion on the site?
We are welcoming submissions from parents, teachers, students, school administrators, school staff, and community members.
What were the requirements you gave the people who wrote on the paper in order for them to be on the site?
People write why they are more than a test on a sign and email it to us.
If you were to do this again, how would you do it differently?
It’s still going on! We want more submissions! We’re in a campaign and will be meeting with people who have deciding power on graduation requirements soon.
Are students at SLA choosing to opt out of exams? Have you encouraged them to?
I don’t know if any SLA’ers opted out. I only know of 12 in the whole state that did because it’s a graduation requirement, it’s really hard to opt out of the keystones and the project based assessment.
Are there projects like this at other schools? What actions are other students taking if they are frustrated with the exams?
Students from all over the city are involved in the More Than A Test Campaign. The other day some students students walked out of Kensington CAPA instead of taking the keystones!