No-Testing Test Comes to an End in Ohio District
School officials in the Huron, Ohio, public schools have ended a semester-long experiment in which high-school students with passing grades were exempted from end-of-term exams for those classes in which they had perfect attendance records.
But Superintendent Jeffrey Weaver discounted media reports that the plan was abandoned primarily because parents complained that students were coming to school when they were deathly ill just to get out of exams.
"If we heard complaints from parents, the complaints were primarily the 'Gee, I'm sending my kid to get prepared for college or life, and now they don't have to take exams' kind," Mr. Weaver said. "There were some who claimed their children were coming to school ill because they didn't want to take exams, but we saw nothing that was really to the detriment of the health of the ill students or others."
Rather, Mr. Weaver said, school officials decided to end the experiment because they thought that "given the increase in attendance, the negative aspects far outweighed the positive." The main negative aspect, he said, "was that it seemed to be counterproductive to the aims of education. Whether you go to college or work, life is a series of tests."
"Last year, we averaged 96.4-percent average daily attendance," he said. "Through the first semester of 1982-83, we averaged 97.6-percent attendance. The total number of exams that could have been given without the policy was 2,661. The number not taken because of policy was 1,301. So you see, it almost cut our exams in half for a 1-percent increase in attendance."
"Weighing those statistics," Mr. Weaver said, "we felt the end didn't justify the means."