Editorial: Stage should be just for show

Standardized testing in PAC causes problems for theater productions

February 12, 2015

The flat wooden surface stretches forward, meeting rows of chairs to house an audience. The ghosts of shows long passed still dance across the stage, giving the whole area a feeling of excitement and intrigue. However, as rows of tables are set up across the stage, the excitement dissipates into thin air. Now monotony sets in as students pile into seats with tests in front of them. The blaring stage lights are turned on and the time keeper calls for the students to start. The sounds of number two pencils on paper echo in the otherwise silent atmosphere.

It would appear obvious that a performing arts stage is not the place to take a test. This, however, has not stopped Texas High from sending students to test in the middle of the stage, year after year after year. For as long as the Sullivan Performing Arts Center has stood on Texas High’s campus, they have been using it as a testing center. This causes a variety of problems both for the students testing and for the ones who utilize the stage as a learning environment.

The main problem with using the stage for testing is that it takes away from the original purpose, which of course is performing arts. When the stage is filled with tables and test takers, the students who use the building for classes or rehearsal have to sacrifice their time on the stage. For example, if the tech theatre students are building a set for a show, they have to stop building and take apart the set to make room for the testers. It sets back entire build schedules and puts undue stress on tech theatre teacher Trent Hanna.

Another problem with testing on the stage is the harm it does to the actual students taking the test. Standardized tests are stressful enough without moving the students to a completely foreign environment and expecting them to be calm enough to focus on the test. The students also have a large, empty audience right in front of them which would make almost anybody nervous. An imposing stage is not an ideal testing environment for anyone.

Finding a new testing center, or even setting aside classrooms for students to test in is a great solution to ensuring success for students testing and working. There is a plethora of uses the stage has, but it is still being sacrificed to serve as something it was never meant to be.  With the harm that testing on the stage causes, Texas High should really consider making a change in their testing policy.

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