Last week our seniors took the College Work Readiness Assessment for the first time; most of them very much enjoyed it, to their surprise. Two days afterwards, I had them speak to on video about the test: please know these are their own words, entirely unscripted.
My favorite quotes:
We all found it extremely intriguing and enriching, and personally what I like about is so much is that sometimes when you are in class you think “when am I ever going to use this information” and “I cannot think of a single life experience when I would need to use this equation or this random fact from history.” But with this test, I found myself sitting in a room with a computer and have a pool of information to dive into, which is a really great feeling and you understand and realize that what you are learning is relevant and important. I think that this realization made it exciting and fun and has given me an almost newfound respect for the information I learn on a day to day basis.
It was nice to be able to couple together some of the common sense and life wisdom that you don’t always get to incorporate in testing and in class; this test allowed you to couple that [wisdom] with the strictly information knowledge and that which was strictly in the documents and work it all together into a very, very nice piece.
What I found really interesting what that on this test, it was not only just “hey we are going to find out what you know” it was more “we are going to give you information and you are going to have come up with your own opinions based on this information.”
I actually learned from my [experience of the] test; I am not a really “science-y” kind of person and mine had a couple of science questions in it, and I had to read through the documents and I learned a lot from the mock interviews and I thought that was really interesting because I don’t find that with normal tests.
We got a little speech [from the Head of School] before the test about how it wasn’t really a test, and we were like “yeah right ok whatever” but then we got in there and then we realized it really wasn’t a test. It was a load of fun. We came out of the test and all the underclassmen were laughing at us because we were laughing and we were like “oh, why did you do that?” and “how did you do that?” and “that is really smart” and “I did it completely different.”
The underclassmen were laughing at us because they don’t really understand, but when they take it next year they are going to understand that this is problem solving, but it is in no way mundane and in no way dull and it really allows you to reach into your wisdom and understanding.
Any school out there can teach kids to memorize, any school out there can say “here is the page on the book, make sure you can regurgitate the information,” but I feel that schools that incorporate this test [the CWRA] into their system really value a deeper understanding and a more honest and efficient pursuit of knowledge.
[Taking this test] underlined what our school is to me and how much I appreciate the school I go to because at a different school I can’t imagine they’d be taking time out of class to assess the really important thinking that is so important.
Schools [in general] will teach you the information, but at schools like ours you learn you how to understand the information and create conclusions, and this test really highlights thinking critically and using knowledge and using strict statistics and documents and then building something off of that.
To anybody that I could recommend the test I would certainly recommend it: it was delivered perfectly; it was exremetly well constructed, and it really gets people to think. If you have any doubt about whether to use it, I say go for it.