Op-Ed: Trojan Cards Provide a Good Incentive for State Testing

The purpose of Trojan access cards is to reward students for their performance on state testing such as the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), which is implemented in 18 different states including our home California. Students are given a card based on their performance on the tests and they have rewards such as off campus lunches or excused tardies. There are a couple of reasons why Trojan access cards are good for students.
First, seeing as how state testing does not have an impact on a student’s grades or chances of getting into college, Trojan access cards are probably one of the only incentives to do well on the tests. It’s not the strongest incentive and many students don’t even care about the cards, but it is better than having none at all.
Second, are the rewards on the card. Even though the list of rewards has been considerably shortened this year, it can still be very useful for students who choose to use them. For example, the card allows students to have an off campus lunch. MHS is a closed campus because it’s very hard to keep track of students and make sure they come to class on time when the campus is open. Students who want to buy food off campus or eat out with their friends can do so until they run out of days on their cards. This is a good way for students to legally bypass the rules of MHS without actually creating problems in the long term. It’s a win-win situation for both the school and the student.
Another reward on the card is the excused tardy. This reward is useful for practically everybody. If someone is late to class, they can use the option to not have a tardy placed on their attendance record. Maybe you make it on time to class every day, but events outside of your control, like traffic or weather make you late. Maybe you just felt like coming late to class.
Either way, it’s useful for students and being late to class for the limited number of times allowed on the card is not going to hurt anybody.
Some people might say that the cards are unfair. The argument is that just because students perform better on state tests does not mean they should arbitrarily be given more privileges on the card than other students. First, having greater rewards plays into the idea of incentives. The card is supposed to incentivize students to perform better on state tests, where there would be no incentive otherwise. Second, the rewards don’t need to exist in the first place, so it doesn’t make sense to have an argument about why some students are allowed to bypass the rules more often than others. Administration gives the cards to students as a privilege. Basically, having the card is better than having nothing at all and most other schools don’t even give rewards to students for state testing.
Ultimately, Trojan access cards help both students and teachers. They’re an incentive for students to take state tests and in turn, are useful for students who choose to use them.

MHS Union

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