ERIC Number: ED312313
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985
Reference Count: N/A
Competency Testing and At-Risk Youth.
Corcoran, Thomas B.
Issues surrounding the statewide competency testing of at-risk students are discussed. Sanctions, such as negative evaluations of educational programs associated with such tests, used to fall most heavily on schools and staff, but tests are increasingly becoming prerequisites for promotion and graduation, with increasing impact on students. Proponents of competency tests believe that they will motivate students, bring much-needed educational reform, and stimulate general improvements and public support for the public schools. The most serious issues include: the effects of testing on the achievement of students who are at risk and on the dropout rate; the effects of such tests on curricula; the effects of such testing on the teaching profession; and the impact of the tests on public support for education. Empirical evidence about these concerns is not widely available but several conclusions can be drawn: (1) such tests are here to stay; (2) tests will not resolve the issues of equity that still plague public education because these are political issues; (3) there may, in fact, be associated with the use of tests serious effects that must be monitored. The solutions to these problems appear to lie, not in less testing, but in more and better testing to yield accountability and motivation effects without curricular distortion. (SLD)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Dropout Rate, Educational Change, Educationally Disadvantaged, Elementary Secondary Education, Equal Education, Graduation Requirements, High Risk Students, Minimum Competency Testing, Public Schools, State Programs, Student Promotion, Testing Problems, Testing Programs
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Department of Education, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Research for Better Schools, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.