California, Nevada, Florida and Massachusetts, among other states, have been in the news lately because they have large numbers of high school seniors who may not receive diplomas because they didn’t pass one or more of the standardized tests required for graduation. Evidently Massachusetts has actually gone through with their threat and denied diplomas to 4,800 seniors.
Standarized tests are a very poor method for evaluating student learning, especially 12 years of it, but there are several things in this article that bother me. For one thing, a student they profiled is supposed to have a B average and won an award for "most improved" but still didn’t pass the test. Something is wrong with the curriculum or his teachers – or both. Either this student is getting B’s in some highly watered down classes or enough of his teachers felt sorry for him (the article talks about him "overcoming problems") that they gave him higher grades than he deserved.
On the other end of things I do love this part:
Former Gov. Paul Cellucci once ducked students who stormed the Statehouse to challenge him to take the exam and lose his job if he failed. Cellucci declined to take the test.