Schools should look beyond the grades and focus on the students.
By: The Lincoln Log Staff
Tests, tests, tests. No matter where students are in the school system, from elementary institutions to college, tests are a fact of life. They are administered both at the local and national level; students in California may recognize the STAR test and SBAC test among others. But when we take a step back from the fixation on test scores and how they impact our chances of entering a prestigious college or earning a scholarship, a certain question arises: Do tests really gauge students based on their capability to perform well?
Unsurprisingly, standardized tests are almost universally unpopular among students and parents. According to a 2015 Gallup poll, 64% of national survey respondents said that there was “too much emphasis on standardized testing at public schools in [their] community.” Clearly, people think that tests are overvalued, but for what reasons? There are many answers to this question: tests are a disadvantage for those unable to afford additional test prep, they provide little feedback for teachers, they create pressure to cheat, they induce stress among students looking for affirmation for their efforts, they change curriculum in a way so as to focus on test-taking strategies instead of basic learning and real-world applications, and so on. In summary, tests just don’t sit well with people because they reduce student efforts and learning into a single assessment and score.
Students’ health and wellbeing are also negatively affected in a world fixated on test scores; in Asian countries, reports of suicide and overstress from cram schools designed to raise students’ assessment numbers are horrifyingly common. According to assistant dean Joseph Holtgreive at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering, “If students believe that how they perform at one moment in time exposes the limits of their potential rather than serving merely as a snapshot of where they are in the process of growing their abilities, feelings of struggle and uncertainty become threatening rather than an opportunity to grow.”
If the purpose of school is to give students an environment in which to learn and grow, why are tests so important? The premise that test scores are not reflective of student ability is also supported by evidence that written answers may not even be accurately evaluated. According to writer Dan DiMaggio, who worked in the past as a test-scorer, “Usually, within a day or two, when the scores we are giving are inevitably too low (as we attempt to follow the standards laid out in training), we are told to start giving higher scores, or, in the enigmatic language of scoring directors, to ‘learn to see more papers as a 4.’ For some mysterious reason, unbeknownst to test scorers, the scores we are giving are supposed to closely match those given in previous years.”
What are the chances that a carefully written answer will get the proper evaluation when it’s simply another task for thousands of underpaid, overworked scorers? Given everything we’ve seen so far, from national opinion to an unethical scoring system, the system of testing in our schools today is simply flawed. We need change in our school system to return focus to learning, which is desperately missing from today’s test-centric curriculum.
Prom is not accessible to everyone
By: Wendy Zhu
Prom is a once in a lifetime experience. It have been around for decades. It is a time of excitement, and a place full of magic for many high schoolers. But it can also get very expensive quickly, between paying for hair and makeup, outfits, tickets and rides to prom, prom could cost a fortune for high schoolers and their families. For the girls, there’s the dress, the shoes, the sparkly bag and other accessories, the hair, and their makeup. And for the boys, they usually have to take care of renting a tuxedo and possibly a limousine, dinner, a corsage, the tickets to the event, and any after-parties. It’s a big expense.
According to Yahoo Style’s 2017 “Prom Across America” survey, teens are spending an average of more than $600 on prom for their hair, makeup, outfits, tickets, and rides to prom.
“Compared to some other schools, like San Francisco International, their ticket price are $50 while ours is $85, but the fun we had is the same, not depending on where is location is at, but is about who we are with , that is what makes our prom unique and fun,” said Ella Lee, a senior from Lincoln High School.
I believe that no matter how much one pays, whether it might be $50 or $400, the formal dances are meaningful to a student’s high school experience. This four-hour event is spent dancing, laughing, and hanging out with those special people one cares about the most, and it is the one night students can get decked out to look their best.
How "Doki Doki Lit. Club" employs deconstructionism
By: Benjamin Sheh
“After all, I’m talking to the real you, now.”
The character Monika surprised players all over the world when her declaration blew the fourth wall in the viral indie game Doki Doki Literature Club. The game saw a sudden boom in popularity around the end of 2017, and for a multitude of reasons. Players didn’t know what to expect, what seemed like a dating simulator on the surface slowly devolved into a horror experience mixed with existential elements of human nature, along with an exploration of media as a whole. All this was created by Team Salvato, a developer studio run solely by one man. How did DDLC reach such grand heights?
DDLC is a horror game at its core, but players wouldn’t know that at first glance. From the screenshots to game summary, DDLC presents itself as the typical Japanese anime dating simulator. (Right off the bat, this is already strange; Dan Salvato and his studio are based in the US, after all.) The main character is a blank slate like most dating sim protagonists, and meets girls in a school setting like one would expect. Nothing unusual so far. Everything changes, however, when one of the girls commits suicide and this literally resets the game. The player is faced with an “End” screen, and the game resets to its default condition. Upon starting again, the character who committed suicide suddenly glitches out and the game resumes as if she had never existed.
This is the first reason it achieved such popularity; DDLC is a game that uses meta elements to advance its plot. The experience breaks out of the confines of the game itself and makes you question exactly what it’s trying to do. As you keep playing, the game starts to insert text files into its directory folder and shows the status of its in-game characters as data files. While most games hide their code from the player’s sight, DDLC embraces it openly and intertwines it with the plot.
There is something uniquely fascinating about abandoning the player role. For all intents and purposes, the character Monika essentially becomes the protagonist — she has all the qualities that the player usually has, specifically influencing the outcome of the plot outside the confines of the NPCs. Monika herself believes that she is sentient; that she is on a higher plane than the other characters. Whether or not her awakened sentience is a result of the developer’s direct actions according to the in-game plot is a question that has not been answered.The player is left to speculate how far Monika is aware of her existence.
One of the greatest things it has is the existence of the famous “stream jumpscare.” It works like this: if DDLC detects that a recording software is running (which is often the case when a gamer is livestreaming their game to an online audience), Monike will begin talking to the actual audience ending with a jumpscare.
Photo caption: Monika’s role in “Doki Doki Literature Club” sets the game apart from other visual novels, and breaks the mold for storytelling in video games as a whole.
Legal or not, many Lincoln students will consume weed
By: Maya Benmokhtar
Student smoking weed
In the state of California, consuming cannabis is now legal for those over the age of 21; however, all students at Lincoln High are under this age limit.
Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. Its use is widespread among young people.
Personally, I know many of my peers smoke weed on a daily basis. Weed can be used for stress and other anxiety issues, but many students use it just for fun. Therefore, instead of jumping into conclusions as to why some students smoke weed and why others don’t, I asked for students’ opinions in the Lincoln High hallways....
Two Lincoln sophomores I interviewed responded that they smoke weed because of boredom stating, “I do it because I’m bored,” and “I do it because it makes my thoughts more interesting.”
Another student shared her concerns regarding the side effects of weed: “I don't smoke weed anymore because I started to get really paranoid when taking it. It used to be like the only thing that calmed me. Then I had a bad experience with an edible and ever since then, I freak out when I smoke it. My mom telling me all the bad things about it doesn't help either. She says that I'll have a mental breakdown if I keep smoking and what not. I know it's probably BS but now when I smoke, I feel like my mental health is so fragile and like I'll be messed up,” says the anonymous Lincoln junior.
But what are the real known dangers of weed on teenagers and young adults? According to the Scientific American Journal, being high impairs attention, memory, and learning. Some of today's stronger varieties can make you physically ill and delusional. But whether marijuana can cause lasting damage to the brain is less clear. Some scary evidence comes from research in animals. Rats given THC, the chemical that puts the high in marijuana, show persistent difficulties in learning, memory, perception, and problem solving if exposed around the time of puberty—but not if they are exposed as adults.
Teenagers don’t care much about scientific evidence or long term dangers of substances and products they consume. After all, isn’t high school the time to experiment and discover yourself? We have plenty of time to worry about our longtime health in a few years.