I Have A Plan Iowa needs modification



The I Have A Plan Iowa website needs to be modified in order for students and teachers to be able to use it successfully.

Will Reiher, Staff Writer

About a year ago I wasted a handful of class periods setting up something called I Have A Plan Iowa (IHAPI) and since then I have never used it. Many high school students have had this same experience while dealing with this pointless program.

IHAPI should not be a requirement for high school students. It has an unfriendly user interface, pointless aptitude tests, passwords that are very case sensitive that students can’t seem to ever remember, and teachers that can’t reset them as well as the simple fact that it is never strongly enforced after the eighth grade.

The state created IHAPI to assist students in planning high school courses that lead up to careers they could pursue in the future. Eighth grade students are required by the state law to complete each of the guideways before continuing onto their freshman year. In theory it has the potential to help students plan ahead but the current arrangements of the program are not viable.

The idea of allowing students to plan their future is extremely practical but the current system implemented is not working as efficiently as it could be. If changes were made regarding how IHAPI was marketed to students, changed the amount of access granted to teachers and changed how the program itself categorises users, it would give students the opportunity to get ahead and properly plan what they will do in the future.

Just about any student at the middle school or high school will tell you that they can’t stand IHAPI. This is because the state has done a very poor job of making sure that students understand how they can benefit from it. They see it more as a waste of time rather than as a useful tool that could give them some structure to their future. A resource like this should be of extreme value to students.

They have the ability to plan what courses they would be interested in taking as well as courses that they will be qualified to take once they have completed the prerequisite. IHAPI also allows students to research job opportunities giving them insight on what courses they would need to take, and what they would require from a post-secondary education.

Teachers at the middle school and high school are not always given all the access they need to assist students. If a student at the middle school is under 13 years old, teachers cannot reset their password or even access their accounts if the computer is denied by the website’s security settings. In order for a student to effectively use IHAPI, teachers and students alike will need to have easy access to all of the site’s features.

As students complete aptitude tests on IHAPI, the site categorizes them based on their answers, but in some cases the test results have been inaccurate and don’t reflect the interests and skill sets of the students. “I remember taking aptitude tests and they had nothing to do with what I’m going to do in life,” senior Kate Minney said. Programs like IHAPI require accurate feedback to be effective in advising students.

Planning ahead is an important practice in life, however, using the tools to do so is a large part in determining success. Some high school students know what they want to do with their lives, but for those who don’t, IHAPI can give them the chance to get things figured out. We just need to change some features on the website in order to properly use it.