This is the first year for West Jessamine to add a 25-minute “Enrichment” period for three of the five school days. Enrichment aims to boost junior ACT scores by allowing both juniors and sophomores access to “Triumph College Admissions” (TCA), a proven standardized test preparation program. For the rest, the 25 minutes essentially serves as a study hall.
Come May, we will have spent about a full week’s worth of school time in enrichment, so the response is worth examining.
Question 1: Do you find the 25-minute enrichment time helpful?
Question 2: Do you prefer the schedule on enrichment days or non-enrichment days?
Students’ main concern was the limited time in enrichment. Even the full 25 minute period, assuming no technical delays, “does not offer sufficient time to accomplish its stated purpose”, as one respondent put it, adding that “a dedicated elective for those not meeting benchmarks would better serve students.” This suggestion is backed up by the fact that only 27% of respondents found the time useful, while 41% preferred the schedule on enrichment days with shorter class periods. An extra block would probably mean six one-hour classes, also giving students more opportunities for involvement with the arts.
Students also complained about actual use of TCA in conjunction with the iPads/computers. “In many cases, passages and questions relating to them cannot be viewed simultaneously,” said junior Daniel Sherfey. Classmate Isaiah Estes added, “taking quizzes on TCA is clunky and often results in a lot of misclicks and angry students.” Thankfully, the iPads provide an adaptable platform which will easily allow for the program’s inevitable improvement. Administration has also been working hard to ensure more students are able to log into TCA and make the most of the program.
Many juniors, despite complaints of the current system, liked the idea of a dedicated time to prepare for standardized testing. Sophomores felt differently, and it only makes sense. As one respondent put it, “Sophomores do not see the value of working on a test they will not take until the Spring semester of their Junior year.” Many of those who have found the time useful, in all grade levels, use it to catch up on homework and study… or play knock-out.
Plenty of other complaints were made, summed up by one respondent who commented “enrichment is what happens when politicians decide they know how to improve education.” Unfortunately, this complaint, along with most of the others, is of a much different, deeper problem than what enrichment intends to solve.
At the root of many problems is a public education system which fails to recognize that higher test scores do not guarantee a better-educated student.