Students can do well in a course but still fail exam
BY KIM ARCHER World Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
3/20/12 at 8:03 AM
Find practice tests and guides to the end-of-instruction tests.
Related Story: New testing requirement for graduation tough on some students
One question about the graduation testing requirement is how students can pass the courses but not the end-of-instruction tests.
The reason, educators say, is as individual as the students themselves.
"Some people assume that the school has had low expectations and the student has barely skated by on their coursework," Union Assistant Superintendent Kathy Dodd said. "I am always surprised at that assumption. The reality is that students come with innate strengths and challenges."
Course grades are based on many types of assignments - classwork, homework, projects, tests and others. Teachers have the entire year to assess a student's mastery of the many objectives that make up the course, she said.
With high-stakes testing, students are required to show all they know about a subject, such as algebra, on one big exam, she said.
"Imagine if your performance on one day, on one paper-pencil test, could determine whether you kept or lost your job," Dodd said. "I can predict that, if one did poorly on the particular set of questions your employer asked on that day, very successful adults might point out that one test could not possibly reflect all that they know and are able to do in their job."
It has also taken time to align the curriculum so that teachers were "teaching to the test," said Dave Wineinger, transition interventionist at East Central High School.
Other variables, such as class sizes and each individual student's school or life experiences, can also play a part, educators say.
The fact is, Dodd said, these students are not adults with a lot of resiliency and life experience.
"These are kids. The pressure is big, and the stakes are high. If they don't pass the test and graduate from high school, their life's trajectory has been changed forever," she said.
Kim Archer 918-581-8315