The Cons of the High School Exit Exam
Since 2002, the Center of Education Policy (CEP), an independent nonprofit organization, has been studying state high schools exit examination- a test students must pass to receive a diploma. They also predict by 2012, nearly 74% of all public schools in America will require students to pass an exit exam in order to graduate (Chen, 2008). After reading several articles on this issue, I find it very hard to side with the idea. A growing number of states are aligning their high-school exit examination with college- and career-readiness standards, as pressure builds on the nation’s secondary-education system to do a better job of preparing students for college level work or to enter the work force. According to interviews and surveys, “state education officials reported many reasons for adopting end-of-course exams. Almost all states that have adopted or are moving towards end-of-course exams reported that they are doing so to improve overall accountability, increase academic rigor and achieve alignment between state standards and curriculum (Chen, 2008).” The first issue I have contention with is one of the current exit exam policies such as “No Child Left Behind.” Currently, the only state with a state-mandated graduation exit exam is Washington; however, as the testing requirements are becoming increasingly popular, the Los Angeles times reports that 14 more states “will use end-of-course exams by 2015: Arkansas, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.” To fully understand the impact of the exit exam, more studies have to be done with regards to implementation issues and how it affects student outcomes, curriculum, teaching and performance by specific student groups. Recent research concludes that high school exit exams may have a negative impact on certain students, such as low-performing students, students...
Cited: Chen, Grace “Pros and Cons of Public School Exit Exams” www.publicschoolreview.com October 21, 2008
Strauss, Valerie “Fiscal cliff: Schools would be affected inequitably” The Washington Post December 11, 2012
“Center on Education Policy” State High School Tests: Exit Exams and other Assessments December 2010
Gonzalez, Jennifer “States with High-School Exit Exams Focus More on college and Career Readiness” The Chronicle of Higher Education September 19, 2012
Pipho, Chris “Seven Lessons Learned from Minimum Competency Testing” Education Commission of the States policy brief www.ecs.org
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