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1 The High School Graduation Qualifying Exam A Refresher.

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Presentation on theme: "1 The High School Graduation Qualifying Exam A Refresher."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 The High School Graduation Qualifying Exam A Refresher

2 2 This Presentation Will Include: Why do this presentation? Why Have an Exit Exam? The Original Law Efforts to Delay Issues and Debates – SB 133 What’s the Law? 2001 – 2004 Funding What are Today’s Issues? Why a High Stakes Test? 2004 Seniors Practice Test Wrap-Up Discussion

3 3 Why Do This Presentation? Seniors must pass this year. Law and regulations are somewhat complex.

4 4 Why Did We Need An Exit Exam? Problems at the University   Students needed remedial classes and got no credit.   Students’ graduations were delayed.   Students dropped out.   UA wanted reimbursement from Funding Formula. Problems in the Workplace   Young people couldn’t find or keep jobs.   Employers couldn’t find qualified employees.   Angry employers wouldn’t support increased funding.

5 5 Requirements of the 1997 Legislation Goals:   Teach and learn essential skills   Every diploma will have worth   Reduce University costs   Increase employability Major Aspects:   Empowered DEED to create a test   Certificate of Attendance   Three years limit to pass after graduation   Effective 2002

6 6 What happened between 1997 & 2001? DEED created the HSGQE and the Benchmark Exams Praxis Teachers’ Exams School Designators – Grading the Schools Some districts aligned curriculum & offered remediation, others did not. Legislature funded LOGs and Quality Schools Grants

7 Efforts to Delay the Exam Arguments for delaying the exam:   Math test too hard   Special Education students   No curriculum alignment   Lack of funding

8 8 Hard Work to Get it Right -- Three Senate Versions   Senate HESS   Senate Finance   Senate Floor Amendments Five House Versions   House Special Committee on Education   House HESS   House Finance   House Rules Twenty-three Total Hearings

9 9 SB 133: The Debate and the Issues Much Debate on Technical Issues   Legal Issues   Special Education Students   Curriculum Alignment   Funding   Remediation   Fairness Bottom Line – Accountability, Fairness & Funding

10 10 Legal Issues Validity and Reliability of the Test Validity and Reliability of the Test  Test must measure what is taught.  Passing and failing scores must reflect students’ knowledge. Opportunity to Learn Opportunity to Learn  Students must be taught what is on the test. Opportunity to Test Opportunity to Test  Students must have a chance to take the test.

11 11 Special Education Students Severely Disabled, Intensive Needs Students Severely Disabled, Intensive Needs Students  2% of special education student population  Retardation, autism, etc.  Learn basic living skills  Not on diploma track Other Special Education Students Other Special Education Students  Comprise 98% of special education student population  Average or above average intelligence  Dyslexia, blindness, deafness, etc.  Federally entitled to access to general curriculum  Individualized Education Plan (IEP)  Entitled to accommodations and valid modifications.

12 12 Curriculum Alignment All Levels Depend on Each Other

13 13 Funding to Prepare for Exam $47.9 Million

14 14 And More Funding… $ 16.8 Million

15 15 Over $64.7 Million Over $64.7 Million Over and above the Foundation Formula In State Money Only Since 1999 Curriculum alignment Student remediation

16 16 What Does the Law Say? (See SB 133 from 2001) Effective Date of February 1, 2004 Certificate of Achievement Unlimited Time to Pass Tests Special Education Students Two Required Reports Waivers & Appeals

17 17 Effective Date of February 1, 2004 Public school seniors must pass all three sections for a diploma this year…   If they graduate in May   January graduates do not have to pass. Severely disabled students are exempted…   If IEP exempts them from test   Will receive diploma if their district’s policies allow it.

18 18 Certificate of Achievement Changed from Certificate of Attendance Now will include:   the portions of the test the student passed;   the student's attendance record;   other qualifications of the student the district determines appropriate.

19 19 Unlimited Time to Pass Tests Original law set a three year limit for students to pass the test after leaving school. Now, there is no time limit   May take test when offered   Must pay district’s costs

20 20 Special Education Students Federal law requires all special ed students to participate in statewide tests. Regular HSGQE with accommodations or modifications. Alternative test for severely disabled. IEP team chooses accommodations and modifications. No diploma if modifications invalidate test. Students do not have to be re-tested if their IEP team recommends against it.

21 21 First of Two Required Reports To the Legislature (AS ) – “The Thick Report” delivered every February 15   Information in the Report Card to the Public   Number of students who pass each section of the HSGQE   Progress in implementing school accountability provisions   Resources for schools’ improvement activities and staff training   Schools’ progress in aligning curriculum   DEED’s efforts to assist schools that are deficient or in crisis   Schools’ intervention efforts for students not meeting standards   Turnover in certificated personnel and superintendents   Number of teachers teaching outside area of endorsement in reading, writing and math.

22 22 Second Required Report To the Public (AS ) “Report Card to the Public” available every January 15 th   Districts’ goals and priorities; plans to achieve and measure them.   Must encourage all members of the community to participate.   Online by school at   Includes:   Information on accreditation   Results of tests   Description of community involvement   Description of attendance, retention, dropout, graduation rates   How many students received a diploma under a waiver   Enrollment changes   Native language instruction   How many students complete alternative assessment program but do not meet state standards in reading, writing or math.

23 23 Waivers & Appeals (AS and 4 AAC , 777,780, 789) Waiver from requirement to pass test   Granted by the school district if the student:   Enters an Alaskan school for the first time during senior year.   Passed a substantially similar test in another state.   Experiences a “rare and unusual circumstance”-- illness, parent’s death, uncorrectable system error. Appeal   If denied a waiver, student may appeal to DEED.   If DEED also denies waiver, student may sue in Superior Court.

24 SB 133 passed and was signed. Test re-written to reflect “essential skills.” New cut scores were adopted. All districts finished aligning their curriculum. Truancy has declined. Passing rates have risen. More targeted remediation has been offered. Waivers and Appeals Regulations were adopted.

25 25 What are the Issues Now?

26 26 A Question of Fairness???? My child passed all her classes and should get a diploma.   Social promotion does not serve students well. My child has disabilities and should get his diploma.   98% have average or above average intelligence.   Federal law guarantees access to general curriculum – the high stakes exam is making sure that happens now.   A rising tide raises all students up. My child needs a diploma to succeed in life.   University of Alaska has open enrollment.   Military is an option when recruitment is low.   Many without a diploma have achieved success.   Certificate of Achievement will describe students’ skills.

27 27 Why Must the HSGQE Remain a High Stakes Test? Public confidence in our schools. Student confidence in their education. Continued incentives for improvement. At risk students get the help they need. Special education students get access to general curriculum. Accountability = More Funding

28 28 Real Benefits for Students Receiving more and better remediation.   During and after-school tutoring   Online remediation programs   Summer school programs Commitment to Achieve   Taking the test seriously   Better attendance   Participating in tutoring and other activities

29 Seniors – The Data At least 76% of Seniors Have Already Passed Statewide Does not include:   Likely waiver students.   Students not on diploma track.   Students without enough credits to graduate (about 10% per year in Anchorage). Next test is February 17-19, 2004.

30 30 Geographical Diversity Top Five Pass Rates Pelican 100% St. Mary’s 100% Yakutat 100% Yupiit 100% Wrangell 94% Bottom Five Pass Rates Iditarod30% Yukon Flats35% Lower Yukon38% Chugach43% Bering Strait47% Some Urban Schools’ Success Rate  Anchorage76%  Fairbanks85%  Kenai85%  Juneau80%

31 31 Practice Test Developed by educators and DEED Please pick up copies of:   Practice Test   Test Blueprint   Proficiency Descriptors. Is it fair to set the bar lower? Passing Scores:   Reading:   Writing:   Math:

32 32 Conclusion Alaska needs a high stakes exit exam. The exam is fair, valid, and reliable. The exam has fostered real change in our schools. If we remove high stakes, it’s very likely much of that change will erode.

33 33 Thank you!

34 34 Discussion


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