Many of the graduation tests being used in Pennsylvania schools fail to adequately measure whether students perform at 11th grade levels in math and reading, according to a study released last week.
The study by two Pennsylvania State University education professors found great variation in the types of tests being used and how they are administered and applied. The authors called it the most comprehensive look at the tests school districts use as an alternative to the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, which measures all students at various stages, including 11th grade.
More than 50,000 students graduated in 2007 based on their local districts’ alternative tests, and the state education department has concluded that many are allowed to graduate without sufficient skills.
The Pennsylvania board of education has proposed a statewide standard for graduation by 2014 that would include final exams in English, math, science, and social studies. But opposition from the state school boards’ association and some state lawmakers has stalled it.
A version of this article appeared in the March 04, 2009 edition of Education Week