Analysis: Why we take the Rising Junior Exam?

From April 1-5, GSU students took the Rising Junior Examination. 

Many students, especially those who will take the test in upcoming academic years, want to know exactly what the Rising Junior Exam is. 

The Rising Junior Examination is a proficiency profile that is designed to measure college students’ skills in reading, critical thinking, writing and mathematics. 

The goal of this assessment is to provide a way to define Grambling’s effectiveness by using the data from the score report to understand what students are learning and how they might learn more. 

Vertise A. Pickens, the interim director of the Center for Academic Assessment, has been constructing the exam since September 2018. 

“I attended Grambling in the early ‘80s,” Pickens said. “The Rising Junior exam existed then and the examinee had to pass in order to graduate.” 

As of today, you do not have to pass the exam in order to graduate, however, it is a requirement to take the exam to graduate. 

“Grambling does expect you to do your best when taking this examination,” Pickens said. “If you take the exam and fail, you receive a NC (no credit) on your transcript. However, if you take the exam and pass, you receive a P (passed) on your transcript.”

Reading and critical thinking in the exam are meant to test the ability of students to read carefully and think critically about issues and arguments from the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.

Reading questions on the exam are meant to assess the ability of students to interpret the meaning of key terms, recognize the primary purpose of a passage and recognize presented information. 

Critical thinking questions test the ability of students to recognize assumptions, recognize the best hypothesis to account for information presented, recognize flaws and inconsistencies in arguments and draw valid conclusions from information presented. 

Writing questions test the examinee’s ability to recognize the most grammatically correct revision of a sentence, organize a short piece of writing, and recognize errors in grammar and usage. Mathematics questions test the examinee’s ability to interpret mathematical terms, interpret tables and graphs, evaluate formulas, compare numbers expressed in different ways, interpret ratios, proportions, percentages, and recognize equivalent mathematical formulas or expressions. 

“I feel like it’s a waste of time,” Jasmine King, a senior majoring in leisure studies, said. “It’s not a pass or fail test so what is the point? The exam is two hours long, and nothing on it has anything to do with what we are taught in our classes.”

King said maybe if the exam consisted of items related to the university, or if there were different tests that corresponded with all majors offered, it would be more valid. 

Even though King feels this way about the Rising Junior exam, it did not stop her performance in taking it. 

“I still read through everything carefully and took my time on the test,” King said. “I did not want to be there, but I didn’t want to fail either.”