End-of-Course requirement not always bad
As I mentioned in a previous blog, the Kentucky Board of Education will consider adding some quality control measures to the state’s high school diploma, and the evidence shows it’s high time to do something better.
However, we are recently hearing that one of the measures the board will consider, requiring all students to pass 10th grade math and reading tests to graduate, is controversial in some quarters.
To be sure, the record of using end-of-course tests as a graduation requirement has had an up and down history across the nation. However, I can’t help thinking that part of this is due to a “shoot the messenger” mentality that doesn’t want to deal with the rather grim reality about how poorly our schools perform for many students. Somehow, just getting a piece of paper is supposed to solve that, and end-of-course requirements stand in the way of those who would sweep the facts under the rug.
But, thanks to some research at the Courier-Journal, it looks like an end-of-course requirement to graduate isn’t always a failure. In fact, per the Courier, Massachusetts has end-of-course requirements for graduation, but that has actually seemed to help with diploma quality and is even associated with higher graduation rates, too.
So, for a state with courage to do end-of-course exams and underlying instruction right, having exit exams as a diploma requirement isn’t necessarily a bad idea. In fact, a state many consider to be one of the very best for public education has been doing it for years.