SBAC: The little-big test of champions

Nothing on the line except your school's reputation


This is probably the symbol of misery for some of you.

Conner Enquist, Staff Writer/Photographer

You know it’s happening. Your teachers have been telling you about it for months. Yep, it’s the SBAC test. The test of tests. The symphony of required information. The state mandatory period of time were we all sit in a cubicle in front of computer screen for two hours.

But Washington requires that we do it, so I’ll tell a little bit more about what we’re doing here, as well as lay out some possible tips to help you survive them.

First off, what is the SBAC test? What is the point of it? Simply put, it’s a international grading scale for the states.

So let’s say you want to buy a new product, like a phone or TV. You’ve only got so much money, so you would to spend it wisely, and make sure your putting it in the right place. So you search around, looking for reviews, ratings, scores, 10 out of 10s, the whole shabang, until you find the exact thing you’re looking for. And you relied mainly on recorded statistics to help figure that out.

That’s pretty much the exact same case for the states. They have only so much money to invest, so they need to know exactly where to divvy up the funds. And one of the biggest, hardest ventures of all is the state’s education system. So they created the SBAC state testing to assess school performance, and to make sure that funds are being used efficiently and effectively.

But what does that mean for us? Well, this both means little and a lot to us. As I mentioned before, the test is a grade of the school’s performance level. We get tested in two different categories, math and English, from which the system collects each individual score, and then accumulates them into a overall score, one for each category.

But what does this mean exactly? Some say that it could help get you into college. Others say it could help improve school funding.

Sadly to say, neither of those are true, or any other benefits they say it will bring. This test is literally just a progress report for the state to view of our school, just like how your parents review yours. No student benefits, no money, nothing. Just another fraction to put on the pie chart.

Right now it may seem like these tests don’t have any real effect. That’s mostly the case, except if the school performed particularly low. Luckily, Arlington won’t be affected, because we score about average every year.

But what about those schools that don’t do so hot? At first, they will only experience temporary state intervention, attempting to save the school and improve performance. But if they can’t pull though, then it’s off to the chopping block for them. As in the whole school will be shut down.

But luckily, it doesn’t spell out the end for them. With enough funding and a brand new staff to back them up, they can re-open into a brand new, fresh school, with a new name, and a bright future ahead of them.

Now in what ways could you improve your score? What are some ways you could study for this test? I hate to break it to you, but there really is no way to do so. No easy way that is.

It encompasses pretty much everything you learned throughout your school career, so its a lot of material to cover. It’s also different every year, meaning you can’t really get advice from teachers or students who have already taken it, besides to be prepared for anything. So I guess I’m just going to have to leave you with the same advice: Be prepared for anything.