Editorial: A look at standardized school leaving exams

POSTED: 08/18/11 3:14 PM

The idea to create a standard school leaving exam will no doubt cause teachers at the primary schools to breathe a sigh of relief. At the moment many of the teachers at sixth grade level are burdened with preparing students for multiple exams that have different views on where a child should be when leaving primary school. Standardizing that should now focus teachers and schools on where exactly students should be when they are sending them to secondary school.
We hasten to point out that standardized exams are common in this region and one strong example to draw upon is the Common Entrance Exam. That test is not so much about passing or failing as it is about truly assessing where a student may end up later. Those who do not achieve high scores on the academic elements of the test are allowed to spend time in Jr. High School where they can catch up, at their pace, with their peers who score well and matriculate directly into high school.
One important element of standardized testing as well is that it will allow the students to choose which secondary school they want to go to, and that will allow the student to do the cherry picking. At the moment secondary schools accept students based on their terms, and that can sometimes crush a child’s hopes. With this new standard test, we would hope that there is a shift in the balance of power, that’s more of the choice in the hands of the student and less in the hands of the school administrators.

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