Students and staff prepare for ECA testing

Ema Robertson, Reporter

The school year is already two-thirds of the way over, and ECA tests are quickly approaching for some SHS students. With only about nine weeks until testing, teachers are trying to tie in class curriculum with different standards that are expected to be on the ECAs this year, according to assistant principal Mrs. Lizz Walters.

ECA testing is an end of course assessment that is set by the state that all sophomores have to take in English, and all Algebra I students have to take, according to English 10 teacher Mr. Mark Henninger.

Henninger says that this year, the staff is trying to do more for students to prepare for the ECA testing.

“The big push across the entire building for all the faculty is to really push to work on our writing more,” Henninger said. “So students are writing in classes that they traditionally haven’t written.”

Henninger also says that it is hard to prepare for a test that the staff doesn’t know exactly what questions are going to be on it.

There is a new test this year that is not usually what the English 10 students take, according to Henninger, but they are focusing on certain units to ensure students will be fully prepared for whatever is on the test.

“A new test is starting this year, where no one is really sure what is gonna be on it. We are really focusing on comprehension skills and critical thinking. What the juniors took last year is not the same test the sophomores will be taking this year.”

Although the teachers are the ones teaching, it is the student’s responsibility to do the work and help themselves retain information to pass the ECA, the first time, according to English 10 teacher Mr. Brent Bockelman.

Students have to continue to make an effort in the class where they write every day and aren’t just focusing on getting the right answer. Henninger says it’s more of looking at the details and support, that prove that the student knows the right answer and is understanding the curriculum.

“Students need to continue to pay attention in class,” Bockelman said. “The stuff we are teaching in class is relevant to ECA testing.”

Henninger says the students should be ready, but if the student fails it, the student has to take the ECA every semester in their junior and senior years until they pass it. According to Bockelman, if they do not pass, the students may be placed in an ECA remediation course through SHS in the Summer, Fall, and Winter.

“We (the English 10 teachers), switched our curriculum around,” Bockelman said. “We use to do (Julius) Caesar around this time in the school year, but we switched it with the unit on short stories, because the short stories is a lot closer to what students will see on the ECA.”

Bockelman says it only makes sense to put some of the curriculum that will be on the test, closer to the testing time so the students can retain information and remember what they learned.

ECAs usually occur at the end of April and go into the early days of May. The window for this year’s testing is between the last week of April and through the first week of May.