Thursday, July 9, 2009

The State of California develops a sure-fire plan to eliminate the Academic Achievement Gap -- by Eliminating the Tests!?!?

The folks over at New America Media have reported that the California legislative budget conference committee met on June 16th to look for cost cutting measures. Unbelievably, what they proposed was a measure to suspend the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) as a graduation requirement!

The CAHSEE, which was authorized by Senate Bill 2 in 1999 as part of the state’s public school accountability program, made passing the CAHSEE a requirement for students to graduate from high school. The exam is divided into two sections: language arts (reading and writing) and mathematics. Based on the state’s Academic Content Standards, passing CAHSEE requires 10th grade language skills and mathematics aptitude through Algebra I (now an 8th grade requirement). Sophomores who take the test have eight opportunities to pass both sections; if they pass one section, they do not have to take that section again.

We have stated previously here on the blog that Testing and Measurement are not adequate substitutes for educational reform, yet it is clear that tests like the CAHSEE do provide a measure of accountability that is absolutely essential. And while the economic issues facing the State of California are both grave and complex, clearly, trimming the budget by reducing educational accountability is NOT a good solution. What do YOU think?

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