At Castleton State College, simply passing your classes doesn’t mean you’ll graduate. Much to students disappointment, they also need to pass the Graduation Standards, which include writing, quantitative reasoning and information literacy testing.
The Graduation Standards began in 2000 when the school decided the students would do the writing portion of the testing. Shortly thereafter, the info literacy and quantitative tests would follow suit.
Students say they don’t understand why they need to take these tests, but they don’t realize that it also measures how the professors are doing in the classroom, school officials said. Meredith Fletcher, staff assistant to the associate academic deans, views it as a good thing for the students and the professors on campus and said it hasn’t been too burdensome on students.
“The test scores are fairly consistent by semester; we have never had a high failure rate,” Fletcher said.
But students of Castleton are a little less enthusiastic about the requirements although opinions seemed to vary depending on what academic year they would graduate. Brett Gruber, sophomore at Castleton isn’t a big fan.
“There are better ways the students could prepare themselves for the future instead of taking these tests,” he said. “Preparing for the Graduation Standards takes time away from you that you could be putting into the schoolwork assigned from the classes you’re enrolled in.”
Fletcher stressed, however, that “the tests aren’t used just for the students.”
“The VSC uses their scores to measure performance by the student and the professor,” she said.
Fletcher believes the Graduation Standards are used to prepare the students of Castleton for their future. If Castleton students graduate and apply for jobs and don’t perform well or writing and comprehension testing, it will look bad on the school they came from, she said.
Senior Logan Krescenko was fortunate because he passed all of his Graduation Standards on the first try.
“If you don’t wait until the last minute to pass the Graduation Standards, there is nothing to worry about,” he said. “The material we are tested on is general education, and we should have learned a lot of it in high school.”
Senior Courtney Parker doesn’t think very highly of the testing.
“I personally believe that the Graduation Standards only add more stress to the graduating seniors that have not passed them,” said Parker.
Parker knows the skills students are tested on are important to our future as they enter the workforce, but unless they pertain specifically to your specific major, the likelihood of us using those skills is very slim, she said.
“We take our fair share of math and writing classes and simply passing those should be enough,”she said.