Student proficiency should not be determined by single test

Posted: Monday, July 12, 2004

Fair testing in Alaska is going the same route as in the Lower 48. There is opposition to the High School Graduation Qualifying Exam, or HSGQE, and also inequity in it. Here is what the Lower 48 has learned.

There are more than 51 organizations, nationally, that oppose the use of high stakes testing as a single instrument for deciding student success or failure in school.

These organizations include the NAACP, NEA, the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, TESOL, the National Associations of Elementary and Secondary Principals, and even the American Psychological Association.

Who supports high stakes testing? Just a small grouping of legislators nationwide and a smaller handful of organizations which may find a monetary benefit from it.

The exit exam is unfair to Alaska Natives based upon the fact the 24 percent of Alaska schools which are rural don't offer geometry and the exam tests it. Similarly, the exam is unfair to disabled students because it is not IEP-based. One needs to ask for what students is the exam fair.

Educational Equity supports student assessment, but believes that no decision of a student's proficiency should be based on a single test alone. Multiple measures including portfolios, cultural heritage projects and so forth would better give a well-rounded evaluation of student strengths and weaknesses.

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Jonathan Doll


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