A state study in Georgia shows that teachers in some high schools there are awarding passing grades to students who can’t pass an end-of-course exam.
In the report released last week by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, economics researcher Christopher Clark said “considerable grading disparities” exist across the state. He said comparing grades to exam scores shows teachers in some schools “appear to be inflating course grades.”
“These disparities are disconcerting because they may impact college success, HOPE scholarship retention rates, and the need for learning support in college,” wrote Mr. Clark, an economics and finance faculty member at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville.
The report shows that in 2007, far more high school students failed the standardized test than failed the class. For example, in economics, almost 36 percent of students flunked the test, while just 6 percent failed the class. In U.S. history, about 29 percent didn’t pass the test, but only 9 percent failed the class.
End-of-course tests only account for 15 percent of students’ grades in classes, but the tests will soon replace the Georgia High School Graduation Test, which students must pass to get a diploma.
A version of this article appeared in the February 11, 2009 edition of Education Week