ERIC Number: EJ868022
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Dec-2
Reference Count: N/A
Louisiana's Career Diploma Stirs Concern on Standards: Creation of Alternative Path Stirs Worry about Standards
Robelen, Erik W.
Education Week, v29 n13 p1, 17 Dec 2009
At a time when many states are ratcheting up their high school graduation requirements, critics say Louisiana's new "career diploma" appears to represent a lowering of standards and expectations for students who are not headed to a four-year college. But some state education leaders who had misgivings with the legislative effort this year to mandate the new diploma say they have been working hard to make sure that--within the constraints of the law--it holds real value for graduates. In fact, the state board of elementary and secondary education was ultimately handed considerable discretion to hash out some important details. State officials say the board is expected to complete its work on the diploma this month. Proponents of the legislation, which won unanimous backing in the state Senate and a large majority in the House, say the new diploma is intended to stem the state's dropout rate. However, some observers say the career-diploma law creates a loophole in the state's high-stakes testing program. Louisiana has long required all students to pass tests in both reading and mathematics in the 4th and 8th grades to advance to the next grade. The new law says that 8th graders who wish to pursue the career diploma and are 15 or older need a passing score in only one of those subjects. Paul G. Pastorek, the state schools chief, said that he, too, was concerned about that legislative provision, but is comfortable with how the state board has responded.
Descriptors: Public Schools, Testing Programs, Elementary Secondary Education, Dropout Rate, State Officials, Graduation, High Stakes Tests, Graduation Requirements, Grade 8, Academic Standards, Boards of Education, Grade 4, Reading Tests, Mathematics Tests, Career Exploration, Career Development
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Louisiana