The State Board of Education will reconsider a graduation requirement that says students must score partially proficient or better on a state test to get a diploma. Several advocacy groups have filed a formal petition with the board asking it to rescind the testing policy. The petition triggers a 30-day deadline for the board to respond.
The groups joining the petition include the Providence Student Union and local chapters of the ACLU and NAACP. They argue that high stakes testing is unfair, putting some 4,000 students at risk of not graduating.
Supporters of the testing rule include business leaders and State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist. They say high expectations for all students are an important part of their efforts to improve public schools.
State Education Board Chair Eva-Marie Mancuso says high-stakes testing will be on the agenda at a board retreat scheduled for August. A spokesman from the Board of Education says she remains firm in her support for standardized testing, but there is a question about whether the current state test, the New England Common Assessment Program, is appropriate as a graduation requirement.
State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist declined to comment for this story. Her office says she is aware of the Board of Education's plan to discuss high-stakes testing.