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When The Going Gets Tough Essay

1568 words - 7 pages

The new generation of the twenty first century has been given many well deserved titles, but being lazy is not one of them. High school exit exams have been a part of school curriculums since the 1800’s, and the first was administered in New York in 1878 under heavy controversy (Finkel 1). Opponents of the exit exam cite the lower graduation percentages, and how a grown adult without a diploma will suffer heavily in their adult lives. What many will not admit to is that the benefits of these exit exams are equally as far reaching as the so called “cons” of the tests. The high school exit exam encourages teachers to push their students, and set a national standard for high school ...view middle of the document...

In the 1980’s these minimum competency tests were designed around an eighth grade curriculum, and yet students are still upset about them. One would be wise to keep this common theme of laziness in mind.
Now in regards to the American education standards, it is a commonly accepted stigma by the American people that the American education system is falling apart. In the latest test by the Program for International Student Assessment out of 70 countries tested the U.S. was 17th in science, and 25th in mathematics (Finkel 1). For the self proclaimed greatest country in the world this is an underachievement clearly, and now people are calling for an ease in the education system. The National Center on Education and Economy released a report on the matter saying that “students should be required to study content in depth and show they can think critically about it through standardized but essay-heavy tests before finishing their education” (Finkel 1). United States students need to achieve the same level as their predecessors by competing on the global scale, or else the country may fade into the back drop of the world. In order for the students to be able to compete at the international level, a series of tests needs to be enacted to ensure a national standard for all students. Banning exit exams would imply a move in the opposite direction of where this country needs to be going to, which is a national standard.
Obviously the United States exit exam is less than unified. Arizona has AIMS, California has a different exam, and many other states have exams particular to their states alone; there is no national unification for the test. On the 2009 PISA exam one of the highest scoring countries was Japan; a country many would consider an economic competitor of America. Japan does not have an exit exam, but instead has exams to graduate each term, and entrance exams to go on to the next stage of education (Ackeren et al. 2). Now one must imagine that in the United States. One must imagine having to take a test to go on to the next grade level at the end of every year, and not passing a final in high school would result in loss of the credit. This makes the present exit exams look like child’s play. The implication being made is that the United States could stand to learn a few things from the competing nations, not that the Japanese education structure is perfect.
From an objective stand point these tests have a direct correlation with student achievement, but there is also something to be said for the subjective stand point of these tests, after all the more high school graduates the better. Following this line of logic can be a slippery slope. With the recent No Child Left Behind policies there is a torrential discussion now of what should actually be taught in high school. America could base its high school education to serve like a technical school and prepare students for future careers, or it could serve more like the...

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