The freshman and sophomores at Ketchikan High School took the Performance Evaluation for Alaska’s Schools test these past two weeks. This was the first year PEAKS testing was done at Kayhi, and everything went perfectly fine according to counselor Natasha O’Brien.
“PEAKS testing went smoothly,” said O’Brien. “It was well organized, students knew where to go, and the computer systems worked well.”
The tests are given to measure students in the subjects of English Language Arts and Mathematics. Knowing that the test doesn’t affect their grades, the majority of the students don’t take the test as serious as the teachers want them to.
“The students know that the test doesn’t affect them at all,” said Cole Maxwell. “So they don’t take it serious, it’s like giving a test in class and telling the students that it doesn’t count as a grade, obviously some are going to try while others won’t.”
Freshman Tacoma Coronel agrees with Maxwell adding that the whole reason behind the tests is to make the school look better.
“These tests aren’t really important to the students, but they are important to the teachers,” said Coronel. “The teachers want the school to look good in the eyes of other schools, so they definitely want their students to do good.”
Even though the the test scores don’t affect the student’s grade, science teacher D Jay O’Brien still tells everyone to try no matter what.
“There were a few individuals that had a cavalier attitude about the tests,” said O’Brien. “But I tried to tell them that everything that is done in this place is to help them.”
Sitting down for hours and testing can be rough. Freshman Leah Call couldn’t have moved on to the second session if it wasn’t for snack break that helped boost her energy after session one of testing.
“Staying focused was very difficult for me,” said Call. “But having snack break helped me get through testing .”
Sophomore Donald Rayner thought the test went great, but doing the test on the computer was something that bothered him.
“Having the test online was something that I struggled with,” said Rayner. “Next year I think it would be better if they revised their strategy on how they gave the test out, and giving the students time to study for it would help.”
So is there going to be a next year for PEAKS testing? According to O’Brien, the PEAKS are going to be an every year thing at Kayhi.
“We don’t have a choice on whether or not we want to do this next year,” said Natasha O’Brien. “It’s state mandate and it has taken the place of the SBAs.”