Friday, May 15, 2009

Standardized Testing vs. Graduation - You Mean We Can't Have Both?

Melissa Nelson teaches high school at Rockwall High School, a Dallas suburb.

She's not a big fan as of our state's standardized test (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills or TAKS) as a prerequisite for graduation. Neither am I. Of course I have issues with the emphasis we've placed on it anyway.

But Ms. Nelson's op-ed in the Dallas Morning News makes an interesting assessment and suggestion regarding testing for 'college readiness':

"Senate Education Committee chair Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, said, "The overarching goal is to raise the bar so that Texas students are prepared for success in life." I couldn't agree more, but I don't think denying a student a high school diploma because he can't perform Algebra II on a college-ready level is the best way to prepare him for success. In fact, if he gets discouraged and drops out, we are almost assured he will have less success in life."

"The fact is we already have tests in place that tell us how our students are doing when it comes to college readiness. They are the SAT and the ACT. Make every high school student take the ACT or SAT and see how we're doing."

Now I also have an issue with assuming which children are 'college ready' and which aren't. I don't think you know until they get there. But it is true. And the test that shows which one's are ready and which aren't - the one's that are actually recognized by colleges and universities, are the SAT and the ACT exams.

Maybe we ought to use the tests that actually mean something.

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