Monday, February 19, 2007

Words of Wisdom from Reader's Digest

We recently started checking out old Reader's Digests from the library. My 12 year old daughter found the following joke in the January 2006 edition, "Laughter, the Best Medicine" section.

I wonder if it should have been put in the true story section:

Twenty percent of this year's high school seniors in California flunked the state's graduation exam. Educators are still trying to calculate how many passed.

Ben Walsh

In a recent article, Fremont Bulletin reported the following:

Extension granted for exit exam requirement

Fremont's Board of Education unanimously but reluctantly approved a policy extension at its Jan. 31 meeting that allows students to participate in graduation ceremonies and receive a certificate of completion in 2007.

"I'm supporting this proposal, however, it's reluctantly, because these kids have six chances to pass a two-part test that consists of ninth- and 10th-grade English and math," trustee Larry Sweeney said.

During a January 2006 board meeting, trustees made a motion to give a certificate of completion to those special education and regular education students who complete all high school requirements, but do not pass the exit exam.

Those students are allowed to participate in graduation ceremonies, walking across the stage with students who receive high school diplomas. The school board made a request to revisit this issue in one year, with information on the number of graduates in August 2006.

Last May, 63 high school seniors took the exit exam. Only six seniors passed. However, they received their diplomas in August.

Last Wednesday, other trustees echoed Sweeney's concerns about permitting students to participate in graduation.

"I'm having a lot of difficulty with this, and giving a waiver to students when this is a requirement," trustee Lara York said. "The graduation ceremony is for people graduating, getting a diploma and meeting all the requirements. I feel they should have completed all the requirements their classmates have."

Trustee Peggy Herndon suggested the district collect additional numbers to see how many students still have not passed the exit exam by June.

To clarify one point: The seniors who took the test were the seniors who had most likely failed the test multiple times in the last 2 years. The over all failure rate for 10th graders taking the test for the first time was 13% in English and 12% in math, which is really not that bad. However, keep in mind that to pass the test a student need only score 60% in English and 55% in math. Students may also take the test 6 times.

I couldn't find the pass/fail rate for seniors or an explanation of why English is 60% and math is only 55%. I also read that they recently removed a few questions from the math portion of the test to make it easier.

Wow. Fremont, California is only 30 miles from where we live. We homeschool for many reasons, but results like this strengthen our resolve. The sad part is that Fremont Unified School District had better results than my local school district.

Related Tags:
, , , , , ,

1 comment:

Mimi Rothschild said...

Scary statistics.

Breaking down the boundaries between success and failure is one of the ways our nation is sliding towards socialism.

I feel bad for the kids who are failing. They are set up to fail by a poor academic experience and then shuffled through the system all the way up to graduation.

There are also talks about extending the high school years into college, making them a mandatory public education. The idea is that because students are not ready to graduate, we should extend high school until they are. Thinking of the social, moral, and financial costs of such a program makes my head spin.