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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

A diploma for you and a diploma for you! States drop exit exams

Grades are up and tests are out. "More states could abandon high school exit exams as a graduation requirement, writes Libby Stanford in Education Week.

Photo: Nicole Berro/Pexels

Only nine states still test students' competence before awarding a diploma, and legislators in three -- Florida, New Jersey and New York -- want to drop the requirement.

Massachusetts'  largest teachers’ union is behind an effort to put a measure on the ballot ending "the decades-old requirement that 10th graders pass state math, English, and science exams to earn a high school diploma," Stanford writes.

More than half of states required an exit exam in 2002, according to Education Week's data.

“Objective metrics of student performance really helped to shine a light on some of the important inequities that existed in school systems,” John Papay, a Brown education professor told Stanford. However, “students of color, students who grew up in poverty, multilingual learners, and students with disabilities tended to have lower scores on these exams.”

Typically, students can take and retake the exams before 12th grade. but "equity" advocates have pushed for alternative ways to qualify for a diploma.

Killing the messenger that brings bad news is an old tradition.

Alaska is considering lowering the standard for "proficiency" in state reading and math tests in grades three through nine, reports Alaska Watchman. "In 2022, 71% of students were below proficient overall. With lowered expectations, however, the new proposal could serve to classify more students as academically 'proficient' without actually raising their objective scores."

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