A perfect end-of-pathway test pass rate looks pretty impressive on paper.
A 100 percent pass rate signifies that every student in the class scored high enough on the test to earn the certification that comes with it.
What isn’t shown on paper, though, is the amount of time and work that goes into preparing for the test.
The end-of-pathway test is cumulative of all three courses that make up the pathway.
“The students that do complete the pathway, it’s a year and a half worth of work that they’re tested over at the end of that term,” said Autumn Roberts, an instructor at Glynn Academy.
Roberts teaches two pathways at Glynn Academy — hospitality and tourism as well as teaching as a profession. For the past five years, her students taking the end-of-pathway test have earned perfect pass rates.
The pathways are divided up into three classes. The introduction courses typically have higher class enrollment, because the students, as they progress through the pathway, will realize that they aren’t interested in pursing that career.
That’s a good lesson, Roberts said.
“Sometimes, through the pathway, they do realize that this isn’t for me, which I think is great because then they have a better sense of what they do want to do in college,” Roberts said.
Last year, she said, the students in her class brought with them a variety of levels of experience and types of abilities. Nonetheless, they rose to the challenge and everyone passed the test.
“I was very nervous going into the test for some of them that I know are not good test-takers,” Roberts said. “We’re told to teach the individual student and that’s what we strive to do each day, but then they’re still qualified with these huge national standardized tests.”
When students complete the teaching as a profession pathway, they earn “articulation college credit,” which they can use to request credit when registering for college classes.
“If they don’t want to be a teacher, it could be used as an elective,” Roberts said.
Pathways also provide career readiness to support students’ interests or help them identify potential future career paths to pursue.
“For hospitality and tourism, I have encouraged and helped several students get jobs, and they have learned just how important hospitality and tourism is to our county and have begun networking with some of the most successful business owners here,” Roberts said.
The test is important, she said, but experience outside of the classroom matters as well.
“I have several that got jobs last fall, and they’re still in the same job or at the same location,” she said. “… It’s been a huge validation for me, because I didn’t expect that to happen when I started taking them places. They took the initiative and followed up on some of the opportunities presented to them.”
Students sometimes cannot take their three pathway courses in sequence, Roberts said, which makes mastering the content for an end-of-pathway test more challenging.
“It is a three-semester-long accomplishment,” she said.
Spotlight on Schools appears Thursdays. Contact Lauren McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 912-265-8320, ext. 322 to suggest a topic for a column.