According to poll after poll, a majority of whoever the pollster spoke to agrees with the idea that kids should have to pass some kind of standardized test to graduate from high school. Until they don’t pass. Then the screaming starts.
That’s exactly what’s happening in Nevada, Florida, California and other states according to an article in yesterday’s Washington Post. Large numbers of students (12% of the seniors in Nevada, 20% in California) have passed all their courses, many with respectable grades, but will not graduate because they failed at least one standardized test.
The test really isn’t the problem, however. Here’s the real problem: “In fast-growing Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, almost a quarter of the high school seniors had not passed the exam before the most recent round of testing on May 20. Part of the problem is that many students — as many as 40 percent statewide — have never taken algebra or geometry, which are included on the test.”
Standardized tests are a lousy way to assess student learning. But who’s to blame if the curriculum has been dumbed down to the point that kids don’t even have to take the subjects that will be tested?