ACT score should not determine open campus eligibility

LeAnne Bugay, Editor-in-Chief

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Bellevue West uses ACT scores to determine whether a senior gets to go off campus during lunch. If a student achieves or passes the four benchmarks (English is an 18, Math is a 22, Reading is a 22, and Science is a 23), then they receive open campus lunch for their entire senior year. If they reach three benchmarks, they are eligible for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarters, and so forth.

While this method is easy, it is not fair and does not reflect hard work.

The ACT is not an accurate measure of a student’s hard work and dedication — something way more important than natural intelligence–because being gifted can only get you so far. Some students can be naturally good at the test and receive the privilege of open campus lunch without working for it. Additionally, some financially stable families that have a student without adequate test-taking skills can pay to learn inside tips and strategies, whereas students without enough money can not.

Furthermore, West is rewarding mediocrity by using ACT benchmark scores. A student that excels in Math and Science, but struggles in English and Reading (or vice versa), should be praised for their high scores because they show deep understanding of the subject, but instead the school district sticks them with only a semester of open campus privileges. On the other hand, a student that is completely average in all core subjects is rewarded with four quarters of open campus.

It’s unfair to fall back on test scores over and over again when there are a multitude of other options that measure a student’s performance and progress far better in school. Why don’t we use grade point average, attendance, behavior, and/or teacher recommendations when determining qualification for open campus lunch?

A satisfactory GPA requires all students to show up for class, complete homework, act responsible, and work for their grade. GPA levels the playing field in students’ desire for open campus lunch. To earn a decent GPA, all students no matter their natural talent or financial stability must work for it.

The same goes for attendance. Seniors that show up to class consistently are proving their effort in school and should therefore be awarded. Non-numerical measures of student performance like behavior and teacher recommendations may serve as sufficient criteria as well because while academics is key in school, character is what builds us as humans. Good character is rarely rewarded, and providing open campus lunch for it is one way.

Using ACT scores as a threshold for the freedom of lunch choice so many seniors desire is impractical, unfair, and puts emphasis on the wrong values that students should be working on. Seniors should be rewarded with full year open campus lunch for their performance in class, behavior, perseverance, and/or character, and not whether they are mediocre at a standardized test like the ACT.

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