NeSA testing is controversial



Nesa Fin from Bellevue Video Yearbook on Vimeo.

Video by Tessa Perez.

Nearly each day since April 2, students hear a similar announcement: “Students with the last name A through M please report to the small cafeteria for the first section of NeSA testing.” The announcements finally stopped April 18, the last day of NeSA testing for 2013.

The 2013 Nebraska State Assessment [NeSA] testing sessions officially started in Feb. The testing schedules and the NeSA in general has upset students but junior teachers have a different outlook.

“I like the fact that the NeSA’s on the computer. I like that it’s pretty quick that way,” math teacher Steve Klein said.

Along with Klein, English teacher Megan Brewer and Science teacher Elicia Ross all have parts of the NeSA they like and parts they would change if they ran the NeSA. Despite the fact that it’s Brewer’s first year teaching juniors she would alter “a lot” of the NeSA.

“I would change when it’s given because right now I think it’s hard on the juniors that are dealing with the ACT, the cold read [district EO] and the NeSA all at once,” Brewer said.

Brewer would also shorten the test and spread out the testing days. Like Brewer, Klein would spread out the testing but not just over a few days.

“I would break it up so that it wasn’t all one test. I think I would test every grade level so you’d take a test your freshman, sophomore and junior year,” Klein says.

According to Klein, making the NeSA a yearly test would show growth of individual students over the year. On the other hand, Ross would do the opposite with NeSA testing, but she admits she doesn’t know if it would work on the district level.

“I’ve heard a lot of students say they’d like it condensed more, so maybe making them all in one day or something like that would be effective,” Ross said.

Ross thinks the NeSA system we have now has helped her students prepare for the NeSA.

“Most are taking this as an elective [Medical Biology] rather than a required science that are juniors so they have had physics, biology, most of them are in chemistry so they’re pretty prepared,” Ross said.

When it comes to the reading and writing portions of the NeSA, Brewer, like Ross, thinks most of her students are ready for NeSA.

“Based on the preparation we’ve done in class and considering that the writing we do for NeSA is really based on the writing we did for class I’d say up to 100%. The reading is kind of the same way,” Brewer said.

Brewer thinks the overall importance of NeSA is learning a real-life skill.

“We enforce the importance of it that it’s more than just a state test. It’s teaching skills that they need in their real life like writing an email to your boss or a resume. Stressing that these are skills that they’re going to need in their future I think helps justify why they need to take it seriously,” Brewer said.

Candi Bolden
West Wind Editor-in-Chief