Graduation Test

10 May

In my last post, I discussed a bit about end of course tests, which many of you are finishing up in one form or another. But the topic of the Georgia high school graduation test (GHSGT) needs its own treatment, as this is a much bigger fish with it counting towards AYP for NCLB purposes. BTW, if you don’t like acronyms, a special ed. blog is NOT the thing to be reading!

 

A county that is very near Magnolia county has adopted a policy that any senior who has failed a section on the GHSGT can not walk on graduation day. (Here’s an article about another district that did something similar in 2003)This caused quite an uproar at a recent school board meeting where parents and students complained bitterly about how unfair this is. A student goes through 12, 13, 14, 15 years of school, gets all of their credits, pass all of their classes, does all of their work, may even make the honor roll and get a HOPE scholarship. But if they fail a single portion of the GHSGT, that’s it. No graduation.

 

They can still take the test every time it is given until they pass, but by then graduation day is over.

 

My attitude towards our test-crazy culture can be seen below. However there are more insidious things behind this policy that the board passed. They claimed that it was a policy designed to make sure that they were upholding the standard. The fact is, this is a graduation ceremony. Why allow someone to be a part of it who is not actually and truly graduating? A board member stated that this policy was set in order to be true to the standard and to insert some level of integrity into the system. They want to reward actual graduates, not those who hope they will get a diploma at some point in the future.

 

While this is all fine and good, that is not the real reason for this policy move. It has nothing to do with fairness or standards or moral integrity. It has everything to do with No Child Left Behind. If your child is left behind, and not allowed to walk across the stage on graduation day because of this test, it is because of NCLB. You see this policy is all about NCLB and AYP. A board member stated that he wanted to make sure that the subsequent test takers understood the seriousness of this test and would work harder to pass it.

 

And that is the real reason for this policy. It is the equivalent of chaining the galley slaves to their oars, so they will row harder knowing that if they don’t, they will go down with the ship. In this case, chaining the student’s graduation exercise to the test in hopes that they will perform better and so help the school’s efforts at making AYP. If the school fails to make AYP, there will be many students who will NOT be walking across that stage. They will go down with their ship. No matter how long or how hard they’ve been rowing, if they fail that test which is tied to NCLB, they will drown in their shame.

 

This is the sort of crap that goes down when politicians in Washington decide to get involved with something they really don’t know anything about. These folks are too busy raising money for their own re-election to raise their own children, and these are the folks you want deciding how your kids should be raised and educated?

 

NCLB is a terrible law created by beltway baboons in order to gain political points at little cost. Schools were institutions prone to doing silly things before, but NCLB has raised the standard of insanity to new heights.

dick

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3 Responses to “Graduation Test”

  1. sheri May 11, 2007 at 10:16 am #

    I’m not sure it is fair to blame NCLB for a school board decision that is fraught with problems and is likely to push some students to the decision to drop out (increasing dropout rates while also increasing the percentage of students who pass the tests). As for the politicians, I believe they are elected by the people. As is said at times, we get the government we deserve. And IDEA was also the accomplishment of Washington politicians.

    My own feeling as a special ed parent is that the baboons in Washington can’t possibly be any worse than the baboons that are running our special ed unit.

  2. Dick May 15, 2007 at 12:33 pm #

    NCLB is what put high stakes testing on the throne and made it our master. We are slaves to the test. Staying off the dreaded “Needs Improvement List” is job one for any school administrator. there’s really no other truly compelling reason to hold a graduate’s feet to this particular flame. End of course tests don’t hold the same sway. Neither do final exams, or quizzes or AP exams or any other type of measurement. It just so happens that this one requirement will be strictly enforced. And it just so happens that this is the one that determines AYP.

    Oh yeah..elected by the people and for the people. Unfortunately they forget it once they are in D.C. At least your special ed unit people are within a few miles and should be a bit more accessible.

    As for IDEA, Congress didn’t have to think much on that one. They basically took the PARC v Pennsylvania (1971) decision and made it into a law. Since then, the tweaks have come from from case law: real, actual needs pressed by real, actual parents like you and me. NCLB has no such historical mandate. It is driven by political expedience. G.W. needed something sweet and juicy to deliver after his court-based election and HR01 of 2001 was just the thing.

    dick

  3. reta printup April 27, 2008 at 4:40 pm #

    My daughter was recently told she could not march with her class because she failed the test. Me and my family are very hurt broken behind this.She has worked very hard and paid 300 dollars for senior dues also, this is so unfair. This should be stopped immediately. These students have went to school for 12 years and got all their credits, and this is the prize they get at the end. No one should have the right to tell these kids that they can’t march with their classmates. This could really be hard on some students, even could commit suicide , now how good would that be for our children? Nothing is wrong with letting them walk with their classmates and getting their diploma later, How dare them steal these kids joy? After all graduation is not graduating unless you march…….

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