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Should Students Be Required To Pass Proficiency Tests In Order To Graduate From High School?

1002 words - 4 pages

What if an adolescent took a test that solely determined whether or not they make it to their high school graduation? For most high school students this is a reality. High schools across the U.S. require all of their students to pass proficiency tests in order to graduate. These state-wide tests include having a standard knowledge in reading, writing, and mathematics, as well as science in some states now. These tests show the level of proficiency that each student is at in each subject based only their test scores. So the question that many students, teachers, and parents ask is: Should students be required to pass proficiency tests in order to graduate from high school? In Arizona, high schools require their students to take the AIMS (Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards) tests and pass them in order in progress out of high school. Arizonan students must now pass reading, writing, and math and science tests. Many schools have integrated an extra class for students to prepare for taking the tests. Students in these classes can receive either a pass or fail for the course. The original reason and importance for having these tests was to ensure that all students are meeting the standards of education in those tested subjects by the time they graduate. Having more research done about statistics and percentages on opposition and stances on proficiency testing would make an impact in the way schools would continue standardized testing, not only in high schools, but elementary schools as well. Since there is little investigation and research that has been done, there is not a strong voice from the teachers, parents, or students on this subject. Some people are opposed to these proficiency tests for a number of reasons, a common reasons being because they feel that a single test does not accurately reflect the students’ understanding and ability on the subjects. In a report by Robert DeBard and Patricia K. Kubow, they found research indicating that “Teachers at the secondary and elementary level are very concerned about the impact proficiency testing has had on students' learning behavior, with 86% reporting that proficiency testing has increased the anxiety students feel toward school” (Kubow). Anxiety on testing, can lead to poor test results for students due to lack of focus on the test itself. According the DeBard/Kubow report, “72.4% of teachers agreed that proficiency testing has put too much pressure on students, the level of agreement differed according to grade level. At the secondary level, 68.8% of seventh grade, 42.1% of eighth grade, and 51.7% of senior high teachers agreed that students faced too much pressure as a result of proficiency tests” (Kubow). Standardized testing can leave many students and teachers stressed and worried about how the ending test results will be. This can be a negative effect on school districts and state-wide testing. A teacher from the Kubow/Bebard report stated that “I still don't...

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