Saturday, June 21, 2008

Students in Oregon will get to choose which graduation test to take

In California, dropout rates soared the first year the state required high schoolers to pass a test to get their diploma. In Texas, 40,000 disgruntled students were dispatched to summer school in 2007 after not passing the state test. And in Washington state, lawmakers simply canceled plans to require exiting students to pass a single, comprehensive math test, after fears surfaced that thousands wouldn't measure up.

"We didn't think any one test should determine whether someone gets a diploma," said Duncan Wyse, vice-chairman of the Oregon Board of Education.

So board members chose a different route. This week, they approved a a plan that lets students pick from three options: a national test, state assessments or a local version, such as a student portfolio, to show colleges and employers they have mastered reading, writing, applied math and speaking skills. Passage on any one of the three, along with fulfilling course requirements, would guarantee a diploma. The trend is definitely moving away from a single, high-stakes test that students have become used to due to the No Child Left Behind Act.

We like the sound of that!

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