RI Students Protest Linking NECAP Test Scores To High School Graduation

Jan 30, 2014

Rhode Island Education commissioner Deborah Gist delivers her annual State of Education address Thursday.  Standardized test scores for thousands of RI students come out Friday, and some 4,000 high school seniors will find out whether they did well enough to graduate. This is the first year test scores are linked are required under a new sate policy, and some students are protesting.

Students with the Providence Student Union dressed as guinea pigs demonstrate at the Statehouse.
Credit John Bender / RIPR

Dozens of students from the Providence Student Union descended on the Statehouse rotunda wearing paper ears and pipe cleaner whiskers.  They say they’re the being treated like guinea pigs in a lab experiment, as the state tries linking scores to high school diplomas.

Ninth grader Nick Friend said he said he’s a good student, but the standardized tests show it.

“I’m a straight A-student, however I do not do well on high stakes testing, and it’s really not right that they’re gonna experiment on us and then require it as a graduation requirement," said Friend.

The State Department of Education says the policy is meant to boost the quality of a high school education.  They're giving students several opportunities to pass the test.  Most recently, the state has added that students who get into college may get a waiver allowing them to graduate, regardless of their score.

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