Friday, July 10, 2009
The State Board of Education has revamped its proposed set of statewide tests that would be required for high school graduation. Its chairman is billing the new system as a reasonable compromise. Chairman Joe Torsella says the new system would replace 11th grade PSSA testing, so he argues students would actually be subjected to less tests than they’re taking right now. The exams would account for a third of a student’s final grade in each subject. He says, “We think that the number of a third is the midpoint at which everyone can meet, and represents a significant—but not entirely determinative—percentage of a student’s final grade.” The tests will be administered at the time the students learn the material. School districts will still have the option to come up with their own requirements but those alternative tests would have to be approved by the state legislature. The first batch of tests would begin in the 2010-2011 school year, with an expected price tag of $126 million over the next six fiscal years. Torsella says the Board will formally approve the new system in August.