State Education Board Chair Eva-Marie Mancuso says she remains firm in her support for test-based graduation requirements. Mancuso says she wants the board to study whether the standardized test known as the New England Common Assessment Program, or NECAP, is the best test to use, but she denies backing away from high-stakes testing.
"We haven't backed off from that at all," Mancuso said. "We're just looking to see if there's a measure that's better to show proficiency, other than just the NECAP."
Opponents of high-stakes testing call it unfair to students while supporters say it will make Rhode Island high schools more rigorous. The current state policy gives students the opportunity to submit scores from alternative tests such as the PSAT if they do not score high enough on the NECAP to meet the state requirement.
Mancuso says the Board of Education will review all of Rhode Island's graduation requirements, including testing, at a retreat scheduled for August. Although she denied wavering in her support of testing, she indicated that the board would be watching to see how many seniors make the grade when they retake NECAP in the fall. Mancuso expressed concerns about a state policy that would leave a significant number of students unable to get their diplomas.