Not too long ago more than half of U.S. states required that students pass an exam to graduate from high school. That is changing, with a number of states dropping their exit exams — but a good number still require them, and that, this post explains, is a big and unnecessary problem for many students.
This was written by Stan Karp, a veteran educator and an editor of Rethinking SchoolsMagazine, which is now marking its 30th anniversary. The publication is produced by the Rethinking Schools organization, a nonprofit that began in the Milwaukee area by teachers who wanted to improve education in their own classrooms but also help shape public school reform across the country. Along with the magazine, Rethinking Schools publishes educational materials for use in all 50 states, Canada and other countries. Its focus is on balancing classroom practice and educational theory while addressing current policy issues, such as funding equity, school choice and school-to-work issues.
Karp gave me permission to publish this.
By Stan Karp
High school exit tests are the trapdoors of the education world. These are the tests that tie scores to high school diplomas and push students who miss the mark out of school into the streets, the unemployment lines, and the prisons.
A national uprising has highlighted the many ways the misuse and overuse of standardized testing hurts students. Now the effort to end high school exit testing may be its next step.