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http://www.cnn.com/2004/EDUCATION/06....ap/index.html

quote: "The content measured on the tests is taught, on average, at the 8th grade level internationally," the report noted. "The material on the exams states are using as a requirement for high school graduation is considered middle school content in most other countries." ... In Florida, students must pass the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test to graduate. They have several opportunities to take the test, which is first given in the 10th grade. Last year, about 12,000 seniors failed the FCAT.
 

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In California there has been a high school proficiency test for years.

The exit exam is considered easier than the proficiency test; a student may leave school having the legal equivalency of a high school diploma after passing the proficiency test which allows the student to leave school at any time after age sixteen or grade ten.

Furthermore, since 1984, all school teachers in California have been required to take and pass the C-BEST, the California Basic Educational Skills Test which is also an eighth grade equivalency test. Some teachers have cried and squawked about the test being racist or biased in some way, and many teachers retired before passing the test.
 

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(I just re-read my post, and i certainly don't intend it to sound snotty...i just have spent a long time thinking about my feelings on standardized testing and I tend to get pretty worked up about it. Ignore me if you wish
)

Just a note on standardized tests: IMO people are either good at them or they aren't. Test taking (especially multiple choice) is a skill that some people's brains are better wired for. It can be taught, but I (as a teacher) don't feel that it is a good use of my already limited (compared to other countries) classroom time.

I am all for some sort of measure of what students know, and I certainly don't claim to have designed a perfect tool, but I really believe that multiple choice tests are not it.

I just think that it is important to remember when we read a statistic that says "X% of students didn't pass X test", that we are usually talking about an entirely (or mostly) multiple choice test. There are students who do know the material and that artificial way of asking the questions loses them. There are also people (myself among them
: ) who are blessed with the dubious ability to take multiple choice tests well, which doesn't prove that they could use the knowledge in a more realistic setting.

I have taken the CBEST and it was super easy for me.( I do not believe that this makes me a smarty-pants
) I also have colleagues who really struggled with the CBEST and are fantastic teachers with a real knowledge of and love for their subjects and for kids. (That being said, there are also some teachers who I have worked with who are about as smart as a jar of mayonaisse and as exciting...a test isn't going to stop them from boring generations of kids
: )

A single test, any test, no matter how well designed, is only a small window into the knowledge of the test-taker. We shouldn't, IMO, believe that it is a holistic measure of intelligence, knowledge or skill.

Like I said, I believe in the necessity of some sort measure of student knowledge. Unfortunately,I don't really know what that is. I will let you all know when I figure it out
.I also believe that our educational standards in this country are way too low and I hope that we can change that. I don't, however, believe that the answer lies in more and more standardized testing.

Phew...a bit of a rant and perhaps hijacking the post a little...
 

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I also agree with Jessemoon...

These tests are not designed to be the ultimate measure of knowledge, more just a minimum level of competency.

And in some cases, it is ridiculously low. The CBEST is an incredibly easy test, I agree. However, multiple choice tests focus on only one method of assessing someone's learning. Anyone with a background in education will tell you that there are many learning styles/intelligences.

Oh, but maybe we should blame teachers. They are clearly the problem here -- just in case you were wondering.
 
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