Thursday, February 26, 2009
Schools Not Testing Graduates Says Study
A new study claims the vast majority of Pennsylvania's school districts aren't doing a good job at measuring the skill levels of students they're awarding diplomas to. The research was sponsored by the Department of Education, and carried out by Penn State University. It claims only 18 of Pennsylvania's 500 school districts are making sure their high school graduates have reached proficient reading and math skill levels. Only 418 of the districts responded to the survey. Education Secretary Gerald Zahorchak says for mathematics, that standard means students need to be at or above Algebra II levels. He says, ”You're going to at least come to that platform. That doesn't mean you would stop. Students who are interested in some fields, for example-mathematics, engineering, science-would be expected to push on. Because they would know their field's going to require a lot more than Algebra II.” Zahorchak blames inconsistent testing standards and practices for the disparity. He backs an effort to implement a series of statewide proficiency tests in a range of subjects that students would need to pass before graduating.