CMAS: Standardized Test Causes Controversy

Ava Atkinson, Reporter

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On Thursday and Friday, November 13 and 14, high school seniors in Colorado were scheduled to take a new standardized test: CMAS. This acronym stands for Colorado Measure of Academic Success. Basically, the test is designed to be a high school exit exam.

The CMAS will assesses student knowledge of US Government, US History and Economics. The test is backed by Pearson Education, a textbook company. According to the Colorado Department of Education, CMAS is to be administered to all high school students: this year as a practice round and in future years as a determining factor in teachers’ salaries and as a high school exit exam.

Despite the freezing cold, many Centaurus seniors gathered outside in the designated student protest area (the patch of grass right outside the band room) to fight against the assessment. Seniors from many other high schools demonstrated on their own turf as well (see list below). 211 Centaurus seniors opted out of this test because they thought it was wrong to be tested on material that they didn’t even have an option to learn, among other things. According to senior, Noah Clay: “I have better things to do with my class time. CMAS took eight periods away from [seniors]. Eight hours that could have been used to prepare for finals, study for AP/IB tests, work on college applications, or even just take a break and recover from the test fatigue.” Some teacher also agree with this ideal too, according to Terry Fostvedt, who has protested in the name of education, “If the state wants test seniors, it should be for non AP/IB students” because these course/test loads are so heavy and demanding. For more specific explanations as to why many high schoolers opted out of this test, you can read a list of grievances here: http://tinyurl.com/mn2s9jv

You can also check social media sites for #letuslearn to hear the personal perspectives of some of the students who protested this test.

Brady Tobin (one of the leaders of the protest) protested because he “thought the test was an unfair representation of our scholastic knowledge.” When asked to elaborate,Tobin said: “[CMAS] tests US Government and Economics.” He went on to explain that most seniors have either never taken the classes or haven’t reviewed the material in many years. Therefore, from Tobin’s point of view this test would misrepresent the knowledge of the Centaurus senior population.

Instead of just sitting around and whining about wasting time on testing, the Centaurus Seniors worked on things that directly affect their futures such as college applications and studying for their AP/IB tests.

On November 13 and 14 Centaurus students took a stand for what they believed in, bearing the cold for their education.

 

School Total number of seniors at school How many took the test Percentage of “opt outs”
BVSD Total 1,852 293 84%
Arapahoe Ridge 58 0 100%
Boulder High 414 2 99.5%
Boulder Universal 40 2 95%
Broomfield High 290 198 32%
Centaurus 221 10 96%
Fairview 530 9 98%
Monarch 352 36 90%
Nederland/ Chinook 45 38 16%
Peak to Peak 149 142 5%
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