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Contents contributed and discussions participated by Cesar Mata

Cesar Mata

Texas Considers Reversing Tough Testing and Graduation Requirements - - 3 views

  • Proponents say teachers will be able to be more creative in the classroom while students will have more flexibility to pursue vocational or technically oriented courses of study.
  • Legislators raised the number of high school exit exams to 15 from 4 in 2007, a year after they passed a law to automatically enroll all high school students in a curriculum that mandates four years of English, science, social studies and math, including an advanced algebra class.
  • Texas now requires more than double the number of end-of-course exams used in any of the eight states that currently mandate that students pass such exams, according to the Education Commission of the States.
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  • Here in Texas, the backlash has been fiercest among parents and educators who believe testing has become excessive, particularly after a period when the state cut its budget for education.
  • Test critics also argue that standardized tests stifle experimentation in the classroom. “It turns our schools into these cookie-cutter manufacturing plants,”
  • Some educators say the tests do not account for students who learn at different paces. “We expect every student to perform at certain levels with the same amount of time,”
  • Champions of more stringent graduation requirements say they also help push students — particularly those who do not come from families in which college attendance is assumed — to achieve at levels they might not have considered on their own.
  • Since the tougher recommended curriculum was signed into law, the proportion of Texas high school graduates taking at least one Advanced Placement exam who were from low income backgrounds rose to 45.3 percent in 2012, from 30.5 percent in 2007.
  • (The graduation rate in Texas actually rose from 63 percent in 2007 to 72 percent in 2011, the most recent year for which state education agency data is available.)
  • Defenders of the current curriculum come from “the elitist in our society who devalue blue-collar work and believe every student must get a four-year college degree,”
  • Even some students say, though, that standards help guide their choices. “If they are allowed the option to not take a harder math class, of course they’re not going to do that,” said Anthony Tomkins, 18, a senior at Akins who plans to attend Texas A&M. “So forcing it upon us in the long run is actually a good thing.”
    Texas lawmakers consider legislation that would reduce both graduation requirements and standardized testing. Supporters on both sides weigh in on why this may or may not be a good thing for Texas students.
    What do you all think as Texas educators about the proposal to reduce graduation requirements and standardized testing?
    The 15 tests to graduate also doesn't include the tests that the students would need to take if they wish to go to a university or college. I'm thinking ACT, SAT, THEA or TASP as it was called when I was in high school. Oh and I think they have one called the accuplacer too. That gets closer to 20 tests!
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