State Sen. Guess: Not trying to eliminate exam

Posted: Monday, January 26, 2004

I want to thank everyone from students to talk radio for discussing the "exit exam."

Unfortunately, I've learned many misunderstand my opinion. I do not want to get rid of the exam; nor do I believe we should provide diplomas to students who don't know the standards.

My concern is the current approach will deny diplomas to students who passed their classes and know the standards but fail the test.

This fact is known. Tests are accurate for the majority of students but not all students. (I estimate this group to be less than 10 percent of seniors.)

My solution allows diplomas if a student passes their high school classes with the test results becoming part of their permanent record - a "differential diploma" system.

I tried to provide a proposal that keeps the good of the current system but recognizes its faults. I am not wedded to this solution but it is a place to start.

The exit exam has refocused our education system for the better.

The issue is whether the current system captures what we intend.

Do we accept the "collateral damage" of the current system, or can we refine the system to ensure students who pass their classes and meet the standards receive a diploma - a problem worth solving?

Sen. Gretchen Guess

Anchorage



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