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ERIC Number: ED498585
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Oct
Pages: 39
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Great Expectations: A Guide to Alabama's High School Graduation Exam. Revised
Alabama Department of Education
State leaders, parents, and business people want to be sure that students truly learn what they are being taught in school. Today, basic skills are not sufficient to guarantee that children will find good jobs and become productive citizens. As a result, the Alabama State Legislature passed its Education Accountability Law in 1995. The new graduation exam is part of that push to raise standards and performance for all students. The test requires students to demonstrate what they have learned in required high school core course work and emphasizes logic, problem solving, and other thinking skills. Tested subject areas include Reading, Language, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. The reading test determines that the student can read and comprehend textual, functional, and recreational material; standards tested include: (1) Demonstration of literal understanding; (2) Interpretation of passages; (3) Application of critical analysis strategies; and (4) Use of strategies that enhance comprehension. The language test measures student knowledge of language mechanics and expression; standards tested include: (1) Correct grammar; (2) Appropriate word choice; (3) Correct sentence structure; (4) Correct capitalization and punctuation; and (5) Appropriate organizational skills for writing and revising. The mathematics test measures knowledge of Algebra I and geometry; standards tested include: (1) Basic operations on algebraic expressions; (2) Solving equations and inequalities; (3) Applying concepts related to functions; (4) Applying formulas; (5) Graphing techniques; (6) Representation of problem situations; and (7) Solving problems involving a variety of algebraic and geometric concepts. The science test measures knowledge of biology and physical science; standards tested include: (1) Nature of science (scientific process); (2) Matter (states, transfer, change, types); (3) Diversity of life (classification, structure, function); (4) Heredity (mutations, DNA, traits);(5) Cells (structure, function, reproduction); (6) Interdependence (populations, ecosystems); (7) Energy (transformations, waves); and (8) Force and motion (laws). The social studies test measures student knowledge of United States history; standards tested include: (1) Global influence of the pre-colonial and colonial eras of the Western Hemisphere; (2) Formation and development of the United States; (3) Eras of revolution, expansion, and reform prior to the United States Civil War; (4) United States Civil War Era; (5) Developments of the late 19th and 20th centuries; (6) Causes and effects of World War I; and (7) The Great Depression and World War II. Sample test questions in each area are included. The exam is generally written on an eleventh-grade level, although certain tested skills may be taught as early as 7th grade. Students will have up to six opportunities to take the graduation exam before exiting school. Suggestions for parent, business, community resident and civic group involvement are included, as well as activities to help keep skills sharp during the summer and throughout the year.
Alabama Department of Education. 50 North Ripley Street, P.O. Box 302101, Montgomery, AL 36104. Tel: 334-242-9700; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Alabama State Dept. of Education, Montgomery.
Identifiers - Location: Alabama