As educational reform moves forward we see more reality based actions in the states:
A high school exit exam is keeping hundreds of Alaska students from earning diplomas and jobs for which they’re otherwise qualified, proponents of repealing the test told a state Senate committee Friday.
Educators and parents from around the state testifying in support of a bill to eliminate the High School Graduation Qualifying Exam said the tests also eat up both classroom time and resources for yet another standardized test.
The exams’ only defender to testify was Finance Director Eddy Jeans of the Department of Education and Early Development, who relayed the State Board of Education’s position. The board sees the test as a crucial accountability tool and wants it to stay in place until there is an alternative.
“It’s the hammer in the system. It’s the only hammer in the system,” Jeans said.
Alaska students are already subject to standardized tests throughout their public education, but those tests are designed to index and track progress or skills. They provide information, but don’t hold the individual students accountable, Jeans said.
In contrast, the exit exam guarantees that someone with an Alaska high school diploma has at least minimum competency in reading, writing and math, he said. Eliminating it with no alternative would revert an Alaska high school diploma to the equivalent of a certificate of attendance, Jeans said.
Sen. Bettye Davis, the repeal’s sponsor, took issue with that assertion.
“I can’t believe this is the glue that’s holding the system together,” she said. “We’re doing a disservice to our children.”
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