State education officials are defending standardized testing as a graduation requirement starting with the class of 2014. Students opposing so-called "high stakes testing" staged a protest yesterday at the Statehouse.
State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist responded by saying her goal is to make sure students finish high school with the right skills for college or a career. If the testing rule took effect this year, 44 percent of seniors would be at risk for not graduating.
“I am concerned about the large number of students who scored 'significantly below proficient' on the 2011 NECAP assessments, particularly in high-school mathematics,” Gist said in a written statement, adding “as we work to ensure that all of our graduates are ready for success in the challenging careers of the 21st century, we believe that lowering our standards is not the solution.”
Critics say the testing requirement is unfair to students who have been doing their work and passing their classes but could still find it difficult to earn a diploma.
Students from the Providence Student Union, the group that organized yesterday's protest, complain that high stakes testing has become too strong a focus in their classes.