Opinions and Editorials 11/8/13
AR test results are inclusive,
but reading is a positive practice
By Brenton Kludt
We all know of Accelerated Reader and its benefits and perks, but is it really working? Are student scores actually improving from last year, or is the requirement to read simply too much for these students?
Accelerated Reader is a computer program that helps teachers and librarians manage students’ independent reading practice. A student chooses a book, reads at his or her own pace, and then takes a test at the end of it to show he or she understood what was read. These tests then give points to the student, who must meet a certain number to pass the quarter.
Students at Loyalton High School are sometimes faced with the task of reading (on average) three books in a three-month period to accumulate enough AR points. Though some participate, others choose not, saying that they are old enough to decide whether or not they need to read. Is it actually necessary to, though?
Reading is incredibly good for people. Reading forces your mind to imagine, create and strengthen itself. When people watch TV, their mind doesn’t really do much thinking because the situations that the mind might create when reading a book are already created on the program. When reading a novel, one’s mind will create every surrounding, character, and event that takes place, increasing one’s ability to think in general.
That is why AR was begun as a program at LHS—to improve literacy and to sharpen intellect. AR gives students a set goal to reach, giving them the extra push to read more often. Have AR scores improved, though?
The most recent AR data shows no definite sign of improvement in students. There were many different changes in numbers, as well as percentage increases and decreases. The variance in student numbers tested makes results inconclusive.
For example, the current senior class has 56 percent of students in its 40+ points received level, while last year, the class had only 47 percent. However, the numbers were significantly changed from the addition of new students and the students who never took the tests. This data shows that the AR goals, either increasing or decreasing, are inconclusive.
However, if students’ quarterly goals are higher than last year’s goals, this improvement indicates that those students are improving their own literacy rates. In other words, their reading level is growing and their reading comprehension is also improving.
In my opinion AR is a good idea, pushing students to find their innermost selves, bringing the best of them out. Though it could do just the opposite, AR hasn’t caused many to throw a temper tantrum and even may suppress the urge to if the students complete the goal on time.