A steeper, better road to graduation. (Feature).
Students learn more and their high-school diplomas become more valuable when they must pass a curriculum-based exit exam like France's Baccalaureate in order to graduate. So why isn't the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. following Europe's and East Asia's lead?
PROMOTERS OF SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEMS based on rigorous testing often point to the high achievement of secondary-school students in those European and East Asian countries Noun 1. Asian country - any one of the nations occupying the Asian continent
country, land, state - the territory occupied by a nation; "he returned to the land of his birth"; "he visited several European countries" that use curriculum-based exit exams such as France's Baccalaureate and England's GCSE GCSE
1. (in Britain) General Certificate of Secondary Education; an examination in specified subjects which replaced the GCE O level and CSE
2. Informal a pass in a GCSE examination
Noun 1. and A-level exams. Such exams can carry extremely high stakes High Stakes is a British sitcom starring Richard Wilson that aired in 2001. It was written by Tony Sarchet. The second series remains unaired after the first received a poor reception. . In England, for instance, they effectively determine whether students are eligible to enroll at a university and to which university and field of study they are admitted. In the United States, the only worthy comparisons are New York's famed Regents exams and a more recently developed system in North Carolina North Carolina, state in the SE United States. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean (E), South Carolina and Georgia (S), Tennessee (W), and Virginia (N). Facts and Figures
Area, 52,586 sq mi (136,198 sq km). Pop. . Traditionally, students in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of who passed the Regents exams in various subjects, all tied to the state's curricula, received a more prestigious diploma that signaled their mastery.
While a number of states, including Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, and possibly California, are phasing in or plan to develop a system of rigorous curriculum-based external exams, most states have chosen instead to administer minimum-competency exams. Known generally as exit exams, students must pass minimum-competency exams like New Jersey's High School Proficiency Test proficiency test n → prueba de capacitación (HSPT HSPT High School Placement Test
HSPT High Speed Power Turbine
HSPT Human Studies Project Team ) to graduate from high school. These exams usually test basic skills in English and mathematics, rarely testing students' knowledge of science, history, or other subjects. Eighteen states required the graduating class of 2000 to pass minimum-competency exams; another 11 states are developing or phasing in such exams, Five states--Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Oregon, and Pennsylvania--put on transcripts and honors diplomas students' scores on state tests taken in the 10th and 11th grades, but they do not use them as a prerequisite pre·req·ui·site
Required or necessary as a prior condition: Competence is prerequisite to promotion.
n. for graduation Graduation is the action of receiving or conferring an academic degree or the associated ceremony. The date of event is often called degree day. The event itself is also called commencement, convocation or invocation. .
In reality, the United States may never move to a system of truly high-stakes exams along the lines of France's. The ideal of equal opportunity, and education's unique role in advancing that ideal, is deeply grooved groove
1. A long narrow furrow or channel.
2. The spiral track cut into a phonograph record for the stylus to follow.
3. into America's national ideology. Sorting and sifting is certainly a part of the U.S. education system (witness the SAT), but the system is also endlessly forgiving; any student of any age, so long as the money or loans are available, can find a university to attend, unlike in some European and East Asian countries. So reformers who routinely invoke To activate a program, routine, function or process. the academic excellence of Europe and East Asia East Asia
A region of Asia coextensive with the Far East.
East Asian adj. & n. should understand the differences between European and East Asian-style curriculum-based exams and the minimum-competency exams being used by many states. Do they both raise student achievement? By how much? What kinds of positive incentives do they create? And what are the negative repercussions repercussions npl → répercussions fpl
repercussions npl → Auswirkungen pl , if any?
My analysis of data collected by the 1995 Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS TIMSS Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study
TIMSS Third International Math and Science Study ) of students in 40 countries shows that curriculum-based exit exams do raise achievement. The study found that students from countries with medium- and high-stakes exit examination systems outperform Outperform
An analyst recommendation meaning a stock is expected to do slightly better than the market return.
Exact definitions vary by brokerage, but in general this rating is better than neutral and worse than buy or strong buy. students from other countries at a comparable level of economic development by 1.3 U.S. grade-level equivalents in science and by 1.0 U.S. grade-level equivalents in mathematics. A similar analysis of 1991 International Assessment of Educational Progress data on 13-year-olds in 15 nations found that students from countries with curriculum-based exit exams outperformed their peers in other countries by about 2.0 U.S. grade-level equivalents in math and about two-thirds of a U.S. grade-level equivalent in science and geography. Analysis of data from the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement's study of the reading literacy of 14-year-olds in 24 countries found that students in countrie s with rigorous, curriculum-based exams were about 1.0 U.S. grade-level equivalents ahead of students in nations at comparable levels of development but lacking such exams. The final study of the effects of curriculum-based exams compared students living in different Canadian provinces Noun 1. Canadian province - Canada is divided into 12 provinces for administrative purposes
province, state - the territory occupied by one of the constituent administrative districts of a nation; "his state is in the deep south" . Students attending school in provinces with rigorous exam systems were a statistically significant one-half of a U.S. grade-level equivalent ahead of comparable students living in provinces without such exams in math and science. Other estimates show similarly positive impacts of curriculum-based exams (see Figure 1).
Why do students in nations and provinces with rigorous exams learn more? How do curriculum-based exams influence school policies and instructional practices? The data show that curriculum-based exams are associated with neither higher teacher-pupil ratios nor greater spending on K-12 education. They are, however, associated with higher standards for entry into the teaching profession, higher teacher salaries (30 to 34 percent higher for secondary-school teachers), and teachers who are more likely to specialize spe·cial·ize
1. To limit one's profession to a particular specialty or subject area for study, research, or treatment.
2. To adapt to a particular function or environment. in one subject in middle school and to have majored in the subjects they teach. Teachers appear to be less satisfied with their jobs, possibly due to the increased pressure for accountability under an exam system. Schools, countries, and provinces with rigorous exams devote more hours to math and science instruction, and they build and equip e·quip
tr.v. e·quipped, e·quip·ping, e·quips
a. To supply with necessities such as tools or provisions.
b. better science labs. The number of computers and library books per student is unaffected by the existence of curriculum-based exams.
Fears that curriculum-based exams have caused the quality of instruction to deteriorate de·te·ri·o·rate
1. To grow worse in function or condition.
2. To weaken or disintegrate. appear to be unfounded. Students in nations with rigorous exam systems were less likely to report that memorization mem·o·rize
tr.v. mem·o·rized, mem·o·riz·ing, mem·o·riz·es
1. To commit to memory; learn by heart.
2. Computer Science To store in memory: is the best way to learn and more likely to report that they conducted experiments in science class. Apparently, teachers subject to the subtle pressure of an external exam four years into the future adopted strategies that are conventionally viewed as best practices, not strategies designed to maximize scores on multiple-choice tests. Quizzes and tests were more common; otherwise, a variety of pedagogical ped·a·gog·ic also ped·a·gog·i·cal
1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of pedagogy.
2. Characterized by pedantic formality: a haughty, pedagogic manner. indicators showed no differences in regions with rigorous exams. Students were also more likely to get tutoring assistance from teachers after school. They were no less likely to like the subject and they were more likely to agree with the statement that science is useful in everyday life. Students also talked more with their patents about schoolwork and reported that their parents had more positive attitud es about the subject.
Should we expect similar gains in achievement from the use of minimum-competency exams? Not necessarily. There are important differences between curriculum-based exit exams and tests of minimum competency COMPETENCY, evidence. The legal fitness or ability of a witness to be heard on the trial of a cause. This term is also applied to written or other evidence which may be legally given on such trial, as, depositions, letters, account-books, and the like.
2. that may lead to different results, There are important similarities as well. For instance, they both:
* Elicit e·lic·it
tr.v. e·lic·it·ed, e·lic·it·ing, e·lic·its
a. To bring or draw out (something latent); educe.
b. To arrive at (a truth, for example) by logic.
2. signals of accomplishment that have real consequences for students. In many education systems, exam results are averaged with teacher assessments to generate final grades for certain courses. In some cases, passing the exam is necessary to graduate from high school. In other cases, passing the exam confers eligibility for a more prestigious diploma or the right to enroll in university. In Europe and East Asia, exam grades also influence the hiring decisions of employers and limit access to oversubscribed Refers to connecting more users to a system than can be fully supported if all of them were using it at the same time. Networks and servers are almost always designed with some amount of oversubscription, counting on the fact that everybody does not need the service simultaneously. lines of study at universities.
* Define achievement relative to an external standard, not relative to other students in the classroom or the school. Exams, whether curriculum-based or minimum-competency, make possible comparisons across schools and among students taught by different teachers, In a theoretical analysis published in the American Economic Review, Robert Costrell of the University of Massachusetts The system includes UMass Amherst, UMass Boston, UMass Dartmouth (affiliated with Cape Cod Community College), UMass Lowell, and the UMass Medical School. It also has an online school called UMassOnline. concluded that more centralized cen·tral·ize
v. cen·tral·ized, cen·tral·iz·ing, cen·tral·iz·es
1. To draw into or toward a center; consolidate.
2. standard setting (state or national achievement exams) results in higher standards, higher achievement, and higher social welfare than decentralized de·cen·tral·ize
v. de·cen·tral·ized, de·cen·tral·iz·ing, de·cen·tral·iz·es
1. To distribute the administrative functions or powers of (a central authority) among several local authorities. standard setting (in other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently , teachers' grades or local schools' graduation requirements).
* Are controlled by the education authority that establishes the curriculum for and funds K-12 education. When a state department of education sponsors an external exam, it is more likely to be aligned with the state's curriculum. It is, consequently, more likely to be used for school accountability, not just as an instrument of student accountability. It makes coordinated changes in curricula and exams feasible. Tests established and mandated by other organizations serve the interests of other masters. America's most influential high-stakes exams--the SAT-I and the ACT--serve higher education's need to sort students by aptitude, not the needs of high schools that are trying to reward students who have learned what the school is trying to teach.
* Cover the vast majority of secondary-school students. Exams intended for a set of elite schools or advanced courses influence standards at the top, but they have little effect on the rest of the students. A single exam taken by all is not essential. Many nations allow students to select the subjects they will be examined on; some, such as Ireland, the Netherlands, Scotland, and England, offer both high-level and intermediate-level exams for some subjects.
* Assess a major portion of what students are expected to know and be able to do. Studying to prepare for an exam should mean learning important material and developing valued skills.
Three critical characteristics distinguish curriculum-based exams from minimum-competency exams. Curriculum-based exit exams:
* Are collections of end-of-course exams. Since curriculum-based exams assess student performance in specific courses, the teachers of those courses (or course sequences) will inevitably feel responsible for how well their students do on the exams. Teachers will not only want to set higher standards, they will also find their students more attentive at·ten·tive
1. Giving care or attention; watchful: attentive to detail.
2. Marked by or offering devoted and assiduous attention to the pleasure or comfort of others. in class and more likely to complete demanding homework assignments. They become coaches helping their team to do battle with the state exam. Grades on the external exam are typically part of the overall course grade, further integrating the external exam into the classroom culture.
* Report multiple levels of achievement in the subject. If students can only pass or fail an exam, as is the case with almost all minimum-competency exams, the standard will, for political reasons, have to be set low enough so that almost everyone will pass. This will not stimulate most students to put in more effort. End-of-course exams measure a student's achievement level in the subject, not just whether the student exceeds or falls below a specific cutoff point Cutoff point
The lowest rate of return acceptable on investments. . Consequently, all students, not just those at the bottom, have an incentive to study hard.
* Assess more difficult material. Since curriculum-based end-of-course exams are supposed to measure the full range of achievement in the subject, they contain more difficult questions and problems. This induces teachers to spend more time on cognitively demanding skills and topics. Minimum-competency exams, by contrast, are designed to identify students who have failed to pass a rather low minimum standard. As a result, they tend not to ask questions or pose problems that students near the borderline borderline /bor·der·line/ (-lin) of a phenomenon, straddling the dividing line between two categories.
borderline are unlikely to be able to answer or solve. The likely result is that too much class time will be devoted to practicing low-level skills.
Culture of the Classroom
Curriculum-based exit exams often have profound effects on the relationships between teachers and students and among the students themselves. Consider what happened when a proposal was put forward in Ireland to drop the nation's system of external assessments in favor of having teachers assess their students. The union representing Ireland's secondary-school teachers reacted with a statement saying that a major strength of the Irish education system has been students' perception of their teachers as,, an advocate in terms of nationally certified See certification. examinations rather than as a judge." Asking teachers to assess their students, the union wrote, would "automatically result in a distancing between the teacher, the pupil, and the parent. It also opens the door to possible distortion of the results in response to either parental pressure or to pressure emanating from competition among local schools for pupils."
Note how Irish teachers feared that doing away with external assessments would result in their being under pressure to lower standards. For American teachers such pressure is a daily reality. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. an American Federation of Teachers American Federation of Teachers (AFT), an affiliate of the AFL-CIO. It was formed (1916) out of the belief that the organizing of teachers should follow the model of a labor union, rather than that of a professional association. survey, 30 percent of American teachers say they" feel pressure to give higher grades than students' work deserves." Thirty percent also feel pressure to reduce the difficulty and amount of work they assign. Curriculum-based end-of-course exams are likely to alleviate such pressures.
End-of-course examinations may also ameliorate a·mel·io·rate
tr. & intr.v. a·me·lio·rat·ed, a·me·lio·rat·ing, a·me·lio·rates
To make or become better; improve. See Synonyms at improve.
[Alteration of meliorate. another scourge of contemporary classroom culture: nerd harassment Ask a Lawyer
Country: United States of America
I recently moved to nev.from abut have been going back to ca. every 2 to 3 weeks for med. , In Beyond the Classroom, Laurence Steinberg, Bradford Brown, and Sanford Dornbusch's recent study of nine high schools in California This is a list of high schools in the state of California. Alameda County
Why are the studious stu·di·ous
a. Given to diligent study: a quiet, studious child.
b. Conducive to study.
2. called suck ups, dorks, and nerds or accused of "acting white"? In part, it is because many teachers grade on a curve. This means that doing well in a class makes it more difficult for others to get top grades. When exams are graded on a curve or college admissions are based on class rank, students can maximize their joint welfare if no one puts in extra effort. In the game that results, rewards, such as friendship and respect, and punishments, such as ridicule, harassment, and ostracism ostracism (ŏs`trəsĭz'əm), ancient Athenian method of banishing a public figure. It was introduced after the fall of the family of Pisistratus. , enforce the cooperative solution: "don't study much." If, by contrast, students are gauged by an outside standard, they no longer have a personal interest in getting teachers off track or persuading one another to refrain from studying. Peers should become less supportive of students who joke around in class and more supportive of those who cooperate with the teacher.
Evidence from the United States
In the United States, states with minimum-competency exams tend also to have adopted school accountability systems that reward high-achieving schools or sanction sanction, in law and ethics, any inducement to individuals or groups to follow or refrain from following a particular course of conduct. All societies impose sanctions on their members in order to encourage approved behavior. failing schools. Therefore, in trying to isolate the effects of minimum-competency exams and end-of-course exams on achievement in the United States, it is necessary to account for the presence or absence of other standards-based reforms, In a study of states' 8th-grade reading, math, and science scores on the 1996 and 1998 National Assessments of Educational Progress, my colleagues and I studied the effect of five different standards-based reform strategies:
* School-by-school reporting of the results of statewide testing
* Rewards for schools that improve on statewide tests or exceed targets set for them
* Sanctions Sanctions is the plural of sanction. Depending on context, a sanction can be either a punishment or a permission. The word is a contronym.
Sanctions involving countries:
* Minimum-competency exams
* Voluntary end-of-course exams combined with minimum-competency exams, la New York and North Carolina's policy mix during the 1990s.
We also controlled for the following demographic characteristics of the students in each state: the share of children living in poverty, parental education, and the percentages of public school students who are African-American, Hispanic, or Asian-American.
The hybrid end-of-course/minimum-competency exam systems that have been in place in New York State since the early 1980s and in North Carolina since about 1990 clearly had the largest effects on test scores, In science and math, 8th graders in New York and North Carolina were approximately 45 percent of a grade-level equivalent ahead of comparable students in states without such exams. They were also 65 percent of a grade-level equivalent ahead in reading (see Figure 1). This confirms my earlier findings that New York State did significantly better on SAT tests and on the 1992 8th-grade NAEP NAEP National Assessment of Educational Progress
NAEP National Association of Environmental Professionals
NAEP National Association of Educational Progress
NAEP National Agricultural Extension Policy
NAEP Native American Employment Program math tests than other states with demographically similar populations.
High stakes for teachers and schools had significant effects on all three measures of 8th-grade achievement, Students living in states that, during the 1996-97 school year, both rewarded successful schools and threatened to sanction failing schools scored about 28 percent of a grade-level equivalent higher in all three subjects than students in states that did neither. Public reporting is necessary for the execution of these other policies, but on its own it had no discernable effect on student achievement.
The effects of minimum-competency exams on average 8th grade NAEP test scores were positive but small and mainly insignificant. For students who were approaching graduation, however, the effects grew. Analysis of longitudinal lon·gi·tu·di·nal
Running in the direction of the long axis of the body or any of its parts. data found that students with C- grade-point averages in 8th grade learned about 16 percent of a grade-level equivalent more when they lived in states requiring minimum-competency exams before graduation, Students with higher GPAs were unaffected by minimum-competency exams.
After High School
Studies of 1990 census data at the state level show that increasing the number of courses required to graduate raised dropout (1) On magnetic media, a bit that has lost its strength due to a surface defect or recording malfunction. If the bit is in an audio or video file, it might be detected by the error correction circuitry and either corrected or not, but if not, it is often not noticed by the human rates and reduced graduation rates, Minimum-competency exams had no such effect. When, however, my colleagues and I analyzed an·a·lyze
tr.v. an·a·lyzed, an·a·lyz·ing, an·a·lyz·es
1. To examine methodically by separating into parts and studying their interrelations.
2. Chemistry To make a chemical analysis of.
3. longitudinal data that adjusted for the grades and test scores of students in 8th grade, we found that students at schools with minimum-competency exams with C- grades in 8th grade, while not more likely to drop out, were about 7 percentage points less likely to get a high-school diploma or a General Education Diploma (GED GED
1. general equivalency diploma
2. general educational development
GED (US) n abbr (Scol) (= general educational development) → ) within six years. Minimum-competency exams had no significant effect on the graduation rates of students with A or B/B- averages.
The study of longitudinal data also found that college attendance rates were reduced by higher course graduation requirements, but increased by minimum-competency exams. Eighth graders living in states with a minimum-competency exam were 2 to 4 percentage points more likely to be attending college six years later than were comparable students from states without such exams. 5 Curriculum-based exit exams substantially increased the college-attendance rates of students with low GPAs in 8th grade, but had no effect on students with high GPAs.
Students who grew up in states with minimum-competency exams earned significantly more in the years immediately after graduating than students growing up in other states. Growing up in a state with minimum-competency exams raises by about 11 percent the earnings of those who had low GPAs in 8th grade. Students with high grades in 8th grade earn about 7.5 percent extra when they grow up in a state with minimum-competency exams.
Our analysis showed that states that reward schools for success and sanction schools that are failing had significantly higher achievement levels than states without these incentives. We also found that they had lower dropout rates, State requirements that students pass minimum-competency exams in order to graduate had both positive and negative effects on students. While students with average or above-average grades were unaffected, students with low grades in 8th grade were less likely to graduate during the next six years. The effects of minimum-competency exams on achievement in 8th grade and test score gains during high school were small and often not statistically significant. But students at both ends of the spectrum--that is, with either high or low grades--were significantly (about 2 to 4 percentage points) more likely to attend college in 1993-94 when they lived in a state with minimum-competency exams, In addition, employers responded to the enhanced reputation of recent high-school graduates by pa ying them about 9 percent more immediately after high school.
Curriculum-based external exit exam systems had by far the greatest effects on test scores. On the negative side, New York students of the early 1990s were mote (reMOTE) A wireless receiver/transmitter that is typically combined with a sensor of some type to create a remote sensor. Some motes are designed to be incredibly small so that they can be deployed by the hundreds or even thousands for various applications (see smart dust). likely to get GEDs and tended to take longer to get their diplomas. They were not, however, less likely to graduate, and students with low grade-point averages were significantly more likely to go to college. Achievement levels at the end of high school were roughly one grade-level equivalent ahead of comparable states. These are the effects of a voluntary Regents examination system with moderate stakes, not the compulsory high-stakes exam system that New York is now phasing in. States that are reluctant to implement a high-stakes high school graduation test might want to look at the old Regents end-of-course exam system as a possible model for a moderate-stakes student accountability system.
Figure 1 Curriculum-Based External Exit Exams Improve Performance Studies show that students in countries and states that require students to pass curriculum-based external exit exams in order to graduate learn more than their peers who do not take such exams. Gains for students who take exit exams, expressed in grade-level equivalents National Assessment of Educational Progress, Math 0.4 (New York and North Carolina as compared with other states, 1998) National Assessment of Educational Progress, Science 0.5 (New York and North Carolina as compared with other states, 1998) International Assessment of Educational Progress, 0.5 Math and Science (Canada, 1991) National Assessment of Educational Progress, Reading 0.7 (New York and North Carolina as compared with other states, 1998) International Assessment of Educational Progress, Science 0.7 (15 nations, 1991) International Assessment of Educational Progress, Math 2.0 (15 nations, 1991) International Assessment for the Evaluation of Educational 1.0 Achievement, Reading (24 nations, 1990) Third International Math and Science Study, Math 1.0 (40 nations, 1995) Third International Math and Science Study, Science 1.3 (40 nations, 1995) All results are significant at the p < 0.05 level, with the exception of the International Assessment of Educational Progress, Science. Numbers are rounded to the nearest 0.1 SOURCE: Author's estimates from these datasets
John H. Bishop is a professor of human resource studies at Cornell University Cornell University, mainly at Ithaca, N.Y.; with land-grant, state, and private support; coeducational; chartered 1865, opened 1868. It was named for Ezra Cornell, who donated $500,000 and a tract of land. With the help of state senator Andrew D. .