ERIC Number: ED485235
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-May
Getting High School Graduation Test Policies Right in SREB States. Challenge to Lead
Southern Regional Education Board
Challenge to Lead calls for every student to earn a high school diploma that prepares him or her for college and a career. One indicator of progress toward this goal is the success rate on high school graduation tests required by states. Comparisons of Southern Regional Education Board, SREB, state policies, however, show that high school tests and the use of test results vary greatly among states. Each state develops its own comprehensive and/or end-of-course exams based on state curriculum standards, so the rigor of these tests and student pass rates vary among states. Variations in pass rates also can be caused by the different standards and cut scores set by states. In most cases, students must answer about half of the questions correctly to pass. Differences in pass rates on comprehensive tests also can be attributed partly to the way that states report test scores. With all of these differences, how will state leaders know if they've gotten their testing policies right? The No Child Left Behind Act requires testing for high school students to be a key part of state accountability systems. State policy-makers need to ensure that the exams are based on rigorous yet realistic standards for what high school students should know whether these exams are used in student accountability as well as in school accountability and whether they assess curricula as a whole or individual courses. Policy-makers should pay careful attention to student performance and to progress toward the goal of 100 percent pass rates. They also should monitor testing programs' effects on curricula, dropout rates, enrollment in GED preparation programs and student success after graduation.
Descriptors: Secondary Education, Student Evaluation, High School Students, Exit Examinations, Graduation Requirements, State Standards, Academic Achievement, Educational Policy, Testing Programs
Southern Regional Education Board, 592 10th St. N.W. Atlanta, GA 30318. Tel: 404-875-9211; Web site:www.sreb.org.
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: Southern Regional Education Board, Atlanta, GA.