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Gradebook

Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

What's the value of a high school exit exam?

Florida has a high school exit exam. So too do 24 other states. And Maryland is about to join the ranks, as the Washington Post reports.

But can anyone tell us whether the exams have a positive impact on student education?

We hear talk of needing more competitive standards to meet or exceed those of the international students we must challenge for jobs. Yet many of the exams, like Florida's, test teens at an ninth or tenth grade level and not that of a graduating senior.

If they still can't pass it after several attempts, in Florida, at least, teens can substitute an SAT or ACT score that many kids say is easier to make. Efforts to move to tougher, more focused end-of-course exams continue to get bogged down by finances and politics, though they're gaining some foothold.

Some argue the tests at least set a baseline for all students in a state to meet for their diploma, rather than having a hodgepodge of education that varies from place to place. But at least one expert says their value can't truly be known until they're evaluated.

"We have very little hard, empirical evidence about the effects of these test-based accountability programs, all of them, on student learning," Harvard education professor Daniel Koretz told the Washington Post.

Graduation time is here. Thousands of seniors didn't pass the FCAT again. Seems the big question remains, so what? Any thoughts?

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:24am]

    

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