Pointless HSA


Illustration by Emily Shpiece

Illustration by Emily Shpiece
Illustration by Emily Shpiece

Sophomores this year were forced to wake up early and take an NSL Government HSA that did not count as a graduation requirement. The only purpose of taking the HSA this year was to assess student performance as teachers gear up for next year, when the test will actually count towards graduation.

Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, students will be required to take and pass the NSL Government HSA as a graduation requirement, or obtain a combined score of at least 1602 on the four HSA tests. The test was discontinued after the 2010-2011 school year due to financial constraints. Cutting the test was expected to save the state about $2 million a year. But in 2012, the test was reinstated to promote government literacy.

NSL is an important course for students to take because it teaches teens about government and civic participation. The Government HSA is a legitimate tool for the state in assessing how much information students retain about the course.

Students in AP NSL spend all year preparing for the AP exam in May. Since the AP exam is much more challenging than the state HSA, students who take it should not be forced to take a redundant, one-size-fits-all state test.

Perhaps the sole reason for making AP students take the HSA is to boost the state’s scores. In fact, exam rooms this year were filled with sleeping, bored students, wondering why they were not allowed to miss a test that did not count towards their graduation.

No sophomore should have had to take the NSL HSA this year. In the coming years, no AP student should have to take it. But if state officials continue to require AP students to take the test, they should at least provide pillows.