School Admin Struggles To Gain Control After 9th Graders Protest Against Taking The Algebra 1 State Exam

These high school students are putting their foot down and demanding a change when it comes to state exams.

Students Listening to a Lecturer and Writing in Notebooks Gorodenkoff | Shutterstock

A high school public teacher has admitted that the school administrators are scrambling to try and find a solution after many of the students have decided to put their foot down when it comes to the state exam. 

Posting to the subreddit r/Teachers, he claimed that some students have pushed back against the expectation that they need to sit for their math state exam.

The school administrators are struggling to gain control after 9th graders protested against taking the Algebra 1 state exam.

In his Reddit post, he explained that he teaches math at an inner-city school, though didn't specify which state he was in. It's the time of year when many high school students are preparing to sit for their various state exams. However, some of the 9th graders at the high school he teaches at have opted to boycott their math state exam despite needing it to graduate.


It doesn't help that there's been a recent push to have as many school state tests as possible for the school to receive a high grade from the district. "I believe it is about 95% attendance required. Otherwise, they are unable to give one," he admitted.

 young man taking notes from books for his study Ground Picture | Shutterstock


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While most public schools require students to sit for their state exams, as a passing grade is often a requirement for them to either graduate, move up to the next grade, or pass the class, parents can opt their children out of taking the tests. 

However, under the No Child Left Behind Act, passed in 2002, schools with poor performance could receive sanctions like state takeover or lower funding, making these tests particularly high-stakes for the schools and their districts, according to US News.

"The 9th graders have vocally announced that they are refusing to take part in state testing anymore. Many students decided to feign sickness, skip, or stay home, but the ones in school decided to hold a sit-in outside the media center and refused to go in, waiting out until the test [was] over," the high school teacher wrote. 


He claimed the school admin has been trying their hardest to get the situation under control. They've tried yelling at them, bribing the students with pizza, warning them they won't graduate, and threatening to call their parents and have them suspended, but nothing has worked. The only response from the students was that they didn't care and would continue to protest until they were allowed not to take the test.

"While I do not teach Algebra 1 this year, I found it hilarious watching from the window as the administrators were completely at their wits end dealing with the complete apathy, disrespect, and outright malicious nature of the students we have been reporting and writing up all year," he admitted. 

Teacher With College Students Giving Lesson In Classroom Monkey Business Images | Shutterstock


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He pointed out that most of the students haven't been in the classroom these past couple of months, which has been causing issues for some of the other teachers. They curse at the teachers and do it with arrogance because they know they'll get away with it and not receive disciplinary actions because the school administrators aren't taking charge and protecting the teachers

"We received the report at the end of the day that we only had 60% of our students take the Algebra 1 exam out of hundreds of freshmen. We only have a week left in school. Counting down the days!"

School educators have admitted that state testing puts unnecessary pressure on students to perform well.

According to data from the EdWeek Research Center, just 25% of educators said state-mandated tests provide useful information for the teachers in their school in an online survey of 870 teachers, principals, and district leaders.


Interestingly enough, nearly half of educators, 49%, said they feel more pressure now than before the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure students perform well on state tests. Forty-two percent of educators said the amount of pressure has remained about the same since 2019, while 9% said it has decreased.

Not to mention many of these standardized tests, including ones like the SAT and ACT, often don't take into consideration the fact that some students may have learning disabilities and maybe need a different way of testing their knowledge than the usual test-taking. 

They are also a serious class divider, with many higher-income families being able to pay for SAT and ACT prep and higher-income families often being associated with children who have higher GPAs and class rank. 


Instead of students being pressured to perform well on standardized tests that may not accurately reflect their abilities or circumstances, educators, school administrators, and school districts should advocate for a more rounded approach to assessing a student's learning capabilities. 

By moving away from the narrow-minded focus on standardized testing, students may actually feel more inspired to sit in the classroom and learn without feeling as if they're being taught toward the test.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.