Wednesday, July 27, 2011

School districts wary of new state end-of-course exams

Over the past few weeks, school districts have been responding to a Kentucky Board of Education decision that new end-of-course exams in Algebra II, Biology, English II and U.S. History should count 20 percent of each student’s final grade.

Local boards that don’t want to weight the new tests that heavily are required to tell the state board why they will use a smaller weighting.

Apparently, local boards have plenty of reservations about the still-to-be-seen end of course exams, and a number of them are choosing to give the new tests far less than a 20 percent weight, as this and this news articles report.

Somehow, I can’t really blame the local boards – for now. Committing 20 percent of a student’s grade to an untried test isn’t student friendly.

Also teachers are still adjusting to the new curriculum that these tests are supposed to be built around, so for the next year or two students might not get all they need in class to get high scores on these tests.

However, over time, assuming the new tests prove out, schools that don’t provide meaningful weight to them will lose an excuse that was often used with the CATS assessments – students had no ‘skin in the game’ and didn’t try hard on those tests.

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