At the conclusion of this year’s Wytopp testing, a standardized test for freshmen and sophomores, the future hangs in the balance as far as changing how the test is run.

While this year brings no anomalies, and there are no individual scores available for students yet, the idea of the Wytopp is to measure growth, something the current structure both allows and inhibits.

As the vice principal at our school, there are few who know this as well as Jeff Stender.

“You can look at areas that maybe aren’t being covered and create lessons that cover not only what they already do, but maybe those areas where we’re a little weaker,” Stender said.

He goes on to share a specific example of how the English department was able to do just that a few years back, allowing them to watch test scores improve as a direct result of their teaching.

Along with measuring teachers, a standardized test can help prepare students for the format of the ACT and SAT tests later in life.

It gives teachers the chance to enrich students by showing what they already know and can go into with more detail.

The Wytopp, as it currently stands, includes a writing, science, math and english section.

One of the major weaknesses of the Wytopp is the lack of collectible data for writing. It can take most of a year to get the results on that section, and it’s only taken in the ninth grade, so it’s impossible to measure growth in that area.

The science test is also only taken once, despite its importance on the ACT.

As far as change, Stender notes that all the subjects currently tested are important, so he doubts the number will decrease, but rather increase.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if over time we ended up with a social studies exam, just to follow along with the other core content,” Stender said.

Another weak point of this test is making sure that everyone gives their best effort.

“Sometimes we have a handful of students that unfortunately don’t take it seriously, and I think our scores aren’t fully indicative of how great our students are here,” Stender said.

Not only does this force teachers to reteach content the students already understand, it can look bad on the school.

Some strategies the school currently uses are keeping students in the same classroom and talking openly about how important the test is to students.

In past years, students were moved to testing classrooms. This has changed recently, and many believe it’s for the better.

“Being with my own kids I could motivate my own kids more than maybe someone who doesn’t have a background with them,” Stender said.

While all teachers want the students to succeed, being in a familiar setting with someone who knows you can provide needed comfort and motivation for students taking the test.

Administration has also started adding math labs to kids’ courses in order to ensure students take the math Wytopp seriously and understand the content.