(Low) Standards of Learning
Virginia’s Standards of Learning test is too easy, writes Patrick Welsh, a high school English teacher, in the Washington Post. Balancing stories of B students who can’t pass a state graduation exam, Welsh writes about C students who ace their SOLs. Kids who can crank out a basic five-paragraph essay are told they exhibit “advanced proficiency.”
When the school proudly announced last month that 87 percent of our current 11th graders had passed the writing portion of the SOLs, I winced, thinking that next year I will have even more seniors in my English classes who think the little effort they put into writing and the drivel that results is top-notch work.
Welsh wants to dump the test and put the money into teaching bottom-of-the-barrel students who can’t pass even a dumbed-down exam. But who will push for that when there’s no accountability? He makes a better case for raising the “proficiency” and “advanced proficiency” standards to keep the better students in touch with reality.