This week many schools are participating in the ISA exam. While the ISA is supposedly an indicator of how well a school is doing, it is extremely limited in the metrics that it uses to measure the success of a school. For example, the ISA does not measure how well a school is preparing its students academically for life after high school. The ISA is also only valid in the upper grades because it does not measure how much a student has learned in previous years of school.
The goal of the ISA should be to help determine how well a student is prepared for life after high school, however, this information is not included in the exam. Without knowing how much students actually learn during their time at school, parents or teachers cannot make informed decisions about what students need to work on next year. Asking students several questions about their life after high school does not provide much information to parents or teachers, and without meaningful data, we cannot effectively plan next year’s curriculum.
The ISA is supposed to help compare schools, however, it can only be used reliably when students take the test in higher grades. If a student fails the ISA the first time and then passes it the second time, it is impossible to know if the student has improved or not. Because of its limitations, the ISA should not be used as a way to compare students within different grades.
The goal of education is for students to learn as much as possible so that they can have successful lives after high school. The ISA does not have the information that educators need to measure how much a student has learned, and therefore it does not help us move towards this goal. If these issues were addressed the ISA could be a much more effective tool.
Yael Feldman Brown, 12th grade student at Ramaz High School in New York City and junior staff writer at Ramaz Rouge writes:
“This week many schools are participating in the ISA exam. While the ISA is supposedly an indicator of how well a school is doing, it is extremely limited in the metrics that it uses to measure the success of a school. As a result, it is unclear how good of a measure this exam, like any other, really is to predict success.
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