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High School Graduation Tests: A National Perspective.

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Presentation on theme: "High School Graduation Tests: A National Perspective."— Presentation transcript:

1 High School Graduation Tests: A National Perspective

2 A high school diploma is not the last educational stop required Jobs that require at least some postsecondary education already make up 61 percent of the labor force, and will make up more than two- thirds of new jobs. Share of new jobs, 2000-2010

3 Postsecondary education: Destination for most graduates

4 Too many graduates leave high school unprepared Nearly three in 10 first-year students are placed immediately into a remedial college course. Percentage of first-year students in two-year and four-year institutions requiring remediation

5 Too many graduates leave high school unprepared College transcripts have shown that more than half of college students take at least one remedial course at some point. No remedial courses At least one remedial course 53% 47%

6 Most students who take remedial courses fail to earn degrees Many college students who need remediation, especially remedial reading, do not earn a degree. Percentage earning degree by type and amount of remedial coursework

7 How many high school graduates are “college ready”? A recent study estimated the percentage of “college ready” students based on high school transcripts and reading test scores. Nevada and West Virginia had the lowest and highest college readiness.

8 Professors, employers have similar concerns about graduates’ preparation Most employers and professors question whether high school graduates have the knowledge and skills required on the job or in the college classroom. Percentage of employers and professors rating high school graduates’ skills as “fair” or “poor”

9 The American Diploma Project Partnered with Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nevada and Texas Involved wide variety of K-12, higher education and business representatives. Created end-of-high school benchmarks to convey the knowledge and skills graduates will need to be successful in college and the workplace. Key finding: Unprecedented convergence of skills required for success in college and work

10 College- and workplace readiness benchmarks In English, the benchmarks cover: Language Communication Writing Research Logic Informational text Media Literature In math, the benchmarks cover: Number sense and numerical operations Algebra Geometry Data interpretations, statistics and probability

11 Diploma Project’s expectations In math, graduates need skills traditionally taught in Algebra I & II, geometry, data and statistics courses. In English, graduates need strong reading, writing and oral communication skills equal to four years of grade-level coursework, as well as research and logical reasoning skills often associated with honors courses.

12 Using graduation tests to set “floor” of performance 24 states have put high school graduation tests in place

13 Achieve’s graduation test study Six states agreed to participate Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, and Texas Three fundamental questions What do the graduation tests actually measure? What does it take for students to pass the tests? How well do the tests measure what postsecondary educators, employers say matters? Released on June 10 th

14 The tests we analyzed Grade Given ReadingWritingMathFirst Graduating Class Facing Requirement Florida10 th 2003 MarylandEnd of course 2009 Massachusetts10 th 2003 New Jersey11 th 2003 Ohio10 th 2007 Texas11 th 2004

15 What Do the Tests Measure? Math Content Across States

16 What Do the Tests Measure? Algebra Content Across States

17 What Do the Tests Measure? Reading Content Across States

18 What Do the Tests Measure? Reading Cognitive Demand

19 What does it take to pass English on adapted ACT scale? ACT uses items up to level 4 on its 8 th /9 th - grade EXPLORE test, up to level 5 on its 10 th -grade PLAN test, and up to level 6 on its college admissions test for 11 th and 12 th graders. More than half of the college admissions test’s items can be at levels 5 or 6. FL MD MA NJ OH TX

20 What does it take to pass math on TIMSS international grade scale? FL MD MA NJ OH TX

21 Measuring college and workplace readiness In English Measure fundamental skills such as recognizing the theme or main idea Only FL and OH emphasize informational reading Very few questions target “critical reading” such as judging the credibility of sources or recognizing faulty reasoning Some states don’t test writing, use multiple- choice writing items In math Only 5 percent of points awarded for Algebra II 2-D geometry measured well, but little of 3-D concepts such as volume and surface area Basic number concepts measured well, but almost no ratios and proportionality About a fifth of the tests’ points awarded for vital skills of data analysis

22 The MCAS story: More students passing exit exam

23 The MCAS story: Passing rate gaps closing on exit exam

24 The MCAS story: Moving more toward ADP-like standard

25 The MCAS story: Progress toward ADP-like standard varies


27 Recommendations to states Don’t lower standards Content, cut scores reflects learning expected no later than 9 th grade Don’t delay stakes Tests measure only a fraction of what colleges, employers consider vital Improve the tests over time Build more comprehensive assessment systems

28 High School Graduation Tests: A National Perspective

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