Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Should Exit Exams be Required for Graduating HS Seniors?

HS Soccer Game
Originally uploaded by Huh?Pix.
That is a major controversy in CA today.


Steff said...

Yes, they should. It makes a lot of sense to me. Seniors shouldn't just be given a diploma, they should be sure they know what they need to know. They need to have the skills.

kat said...

Today there has been a fair amount of debate on this topic. It seems like it makes sense. The exit exam that has been devised, however, from what I hear, is very elementary, as in 10th grade level at the most, and lower levels for much of it. Also, students can take it repeatedly until they pass it. I could be wrong, haven't personally looked at it, but that is what I have heard.

These are the controversies that I have heard:

Some students with A and B grade averages have failed it. If it is as esay as they say it is, why would an A or B student fail it? I am suspecting that the A or B student hasn't really earned those grades. I used to work in a HS English Dept. and then, also, I assisted a university English professor. I saw students being passed along all the time, being given higher grades than they deserved, I saw barely literate writers getting As and Bs when they should have gone back to remedial English. Many times the parents would go ballistic and insist on higher grades (trying to get their kids into the best colleges?)

There are those who oppose the exit exam in CA because they say that many of those who are failing it don't understand English. Hmmm...I dunno, maybe it's just me, but I kind of think that the ability to read, write, and speak English might be a reasonable requirement for students graduating from CA high schools.

Actually, only a small percentage of CA HS students have failed it (I don't recall, maybe 5-15%), in the test runs they have been doing. If anything, maybe it should be more difficult.

But then, I do have some real concerns about how test-happy our educational system has become. There is much more of a tendency these days for teachers to forgo the joys of learning in order to prepare students for the many standardized tests that are required. Teaching for test results is not my idea of an education at all!

Anonymous said...

I agree that students should pass an exit exam to graduate. Students and their teachers need to be help accountable. Graduating students, for the sake of graduation, is not helping anyone to move forward.

kat said...

I was just thinking this morning, as I heard yet another misguided pundit state with great fervor that the exit exam should be banished, declaring it to be "unfair."

He said that some students have "uncertified teachers," and that some students did not get the same education as other students. Well, we are talking here about seniors in govt. run and funded schools. Since when does the govt. hire "uncertified teachers," first of all, and if this is the govt.'s version of tax-paid education, why would there be that many discrepancies?

And, perhaps the more important question, why would it then be wise to throw out the exit exam, declaring it unfair, and graduating poorly, or uneducated students?

If the test reveals that many students are not receiving a basic HS education, would it be a good thing to throw out the test? Wouldn't it be better to take a look at the educational system and improve it?

Maybe this is a case of the CTA not wanting it to be revealed that despite all that they spend and all that they lobby, and all the $$$ they take in, there are still many students in the state who are not being educated.

And anyway, private schools often hire teachers who did not go the route of the education degree or the certification. They hire teachers who know their subjects and can teach them well.

Anonymous said...

But it isn't fair! Its just another way to discriminate against the poor and the racial. the tests are for white middle income or higher people. once again the tests are a cultural problem to those of other cultures. they should be deleted.

kat said...

Um, well, but the tests DO test to make sure that a person graduating from HS has those basic graduating-from-HS skills and knowledge, so if a person, of any culture or race, is unable to pass such a very basic test, then he or she really should not be given a diploma, and either the teacher who was paid (our tax dollars) to teach said individual, or the individual need some help to accomplish this important task.